Thursday, January 18, 2018

Another teaser?

Sometimes it takes me a lot longer than I anticipate to edit photos and form a cohesive post, especially when it has been a fabulous day for photos and experiences. I end up spending hours just reliving the day looking at the photos and being unable to decide which ones to use and which to leave out of a blog post (because I'm quite sure you don't have time to scroll through 372 photos with your morning cup of coffee!).

So excuse me if I still don't have the post up from Monday's amazing day. The shots are edited (ie, the out of focus and boring ones are discarded, and the basic cropping and adjusting is done), but I still have to select and watermark and organize the ones for the blog.  Meanwhile, here is one of several photos from the start of that day- ducks enjoying a Crofton sunrise.

Ducks enjoying a Crofton winter sunrise,
as the mist lifts from the water.

Monday, January 15, 2018

See Sea Lion - a teaser

Monday was fabulous.  I took a ton of photos.  Here's one of them.  More tomorrow or the next day!

A sea lion barks at us.
Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

On a dark and dreary winter's day

Today was one of those miserable west coast winter days - rain, rain, rain and dark, dark, dark.  Fortunately our winter days are not cold like the days our friends back east are experiencing, and the dark and wet ones are interspersed with dry and sometimes sunny ones.  So on those rainy dark days like today I remind myself of two things - spring is just a few weeks away here on the island, and even before it arrives, there will still be magnificent moments.

I've lived in many places in BC, Alberta and the Northwest Territories, but I don't think I've ever lived any place where we so frequently have such amazing sunrises as we do on the east coast of Vancouver Island.  Often, the day will start with a wondrous display of colour and reflection and by the time most of the town is up and about, it is overcast once more.

Being the morning person that I am, and with a dog I love to walk as soon as I've had that first cup of coffee, those brief but beautiful sunrises are mine to capture, a thick slab of joy to get me through the day, a memory to draw on when the rain and darkness seems oppressive, a promise to look forward to once more in the days ahead.

This was my world morning before last;  if I'm lucky, it shall be mine again tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Beardie Bounce

Saturday, my friend Pat and I went to a Beardie Bounce - a party with more than a dozen Bearded Collies, hosted by another mutual friend.  The last one we attended, when puppies were involved, was two years ago.  You'll find the photos from that one here and here - and some of those same pups were at this year's event. 

Why a Bounce you may ask?  Because that is what Beardies do.  They are happy, bouncy, busy dogs who love to bounce all over the furniture and each other.

Of course, they aren't all bouncing all the time (though sometimes it seems like it!).  There were also the princesses:

Or perhaps the shy one:

And the inquisitive one who didn't wish to pose for a photo with his littermate (who thought her brother was pretty hilarious):

And there were the soft ones and exuberant ones and polite ones and unruly ones and happy ones and quiet ones and 'give me some attention' ones:

A good time was had by all, humans and dogs, and I'm guessing more than one of us felt like this at the end of the day:

Friday, January 5, 2018

A letter to the Poms.... from Maggie.

Dear Lexi and Cosmo. Maggie here. It's too bad yer mama don't like hiking in the rain. You shoulda come wiv mama and me on our walk this morning. It was awesome, even if it was raining. We didn't go far away, but we did all the back lanes and paths in Crofton (lotsa good smells!) and then down to the far end of the seawalk.

I think someone stole some of mah beach!  

The tide was really high, so I couldn't walk the beach at the south end. Mama sez it is a King Tide - I dunno why, maybe all the Queens and Princesses were busy. Anyway, I walked the seawalk, keeping an eye out for my favourite sight - ducks!

I see some!  I see some ducks! 

Not just any ducks. I likes the ones shaped like domestic ducks even though they are wild. I don't care about the seagulls or oystercatchers or commerants or little round plovers. I like DUCKS. Mallards mostly.

Hold your head high, Geraldine, so that dog won't
mistake us for a common domestic variety duck! 

Mama won't let me chase them cuz that would be mean, but she does let me move up on them slowly and quietly to drive them into the water. She says I has great herding instincts (I is a Shetland Sheep Dog, which is a herding dog y'know, though mama sez I should be called a Crofton Duck Dog) . Or maybe I has had some training on duck herding in the past. That's how they start shelties for sheep herding sometimes - using ducks. I move side to side and sometimes I even crouch low like a border collie to creep towards them. But sometimes I get so excited I forgets myself and I run right into the water and start barking! Mama hauls me back (I'm on a long leash so I can't run off) and all the birds swim or fly away real fast.

I can hardly contain myself!
Maggie the intrepid duck hunter - er - herder! 

That's what happened this morning - I raced into the water RIGHT UP TO MAH BELLY, barking the excited happy sheltie bark. But Mama had me on that stoopid long leash and she was way behind me so I couldn't go any deeper. I woulda swum to Salt Spring Island after those ducks if I coulda. She made me come back on shore and waited until I stopped barking before she would give me a treat. It was my favorite kinda treat - dried duck filet! Now isn't that silly - I coulda had wet duck filet if she'd just let me catch those darn ducks!

Mama, sometimes you're no fun!

But y'know what happened next? A man that lives right by the beach dragged a little zodiac-type boat with a motor down to the water near where I was, and I just trotted off right after him! I did! I wasn't afraid of him at all, and I just left mama standing there holding the end of my 25 foot leash while I went with him! He didn't even realize I was right behind him, heading fer his boat! I was gonna get in that boat and go after those ducks! At least, that's what my mama thinks I had in mind, because, y'know, I'm a Very Smart Sheltie. I figured out a boat could get me out where those ducks had gone. I don't haz a picture of this because actually these photos were taken yesterday (which was also a King Tide) and mama didn't take the camera today because of the rain. But mama sez you can picture it in your im-ag-in-nation!

See the ducks out there?
They is sticking their tongues out at me
sayin' "Nyah Nyah Nyah you can't get us!"

Mama's such a spoil sport sometimes. But I hads a good time. When I got home, I had to stay in the mudroom for a while because I was allllll wet even after mama used a towel and the blow dryer on me. I didn't mind though because I got TWO toys filled with treats to keep me busy.

I know you like water, Cosmo, so next time it rains on a Friday you just hustle your furry little butt over here and come for a walk and a swim with me! Lexi can watch from shore if she doesn't want to get her prissy self all wet. She can stay with the hoomans while we haz a blast - and gets ourselves some nice fresh duck. And the scenery is pretty nice too. I LOVES the beach!

Love, yer pal, Maggie.

(No ducks were harmed in the making of this blog post).

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


I had never seen oystercatchers until I moved to the island.  They amuse me with their very long, very orange beaks, their waddling walk in which they often flip their long feet up at the toes, and their funny call like a child's tin whistle.  They remind me of clowns - the kind that made me laugh as a kid, not the kind that seem to terrify people today (though I will never understand why).

Usually they fly away before I can get anywhere near close enough to photograph them.  But today, as Maggie and I wandered the beach - Maggie searching for ducks (her latest passion), me enjoying the beauty around me - the oystercatchers seemed quite content to have us nearby. 

You keep watch that way; I'll keep watch this! 

C'mon, Louise, let's go for a stroll! 

Shall we go walk to the cafe for a little breakfast?

You're heading the wrong way if you want to go to the cafe, George! 

Oh for fish sake, NOW what did I say wrong?

 I had a little fun with a mirroring tool on my photoediting program:

She: I'm sorry. 
He: I'm sorry, too.
Kiss and make up! 

Always hold wings and look both ways before crossing the ocean! 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Here's to Slices of Joy in 2018

2017:  It was not the best of years, it was not the worst of years.

In 2017, I said goodbye to my adorable, funny, sweet Mitzi; I did irreparable damage to my shoulder in a fall and continued to have problems with the knee I injured in 2016;  and Allie was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure.  But on the other hand, my small kin group stayed healthy,  I learned a few new photograph skills, I hiked and walked and shared good times with friends.  Best of all, I welcomed Maggie to my home and heart.

We said goodbye to my sweet Mitzi

And said hello to my sweet Maggie
I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions - on the few occasions I have made them, I have either failed to keep them,  or they have not accomplished the results I'd hoped for.  Sometimes other factors beyond my control interfered with my ability to achieve the goals.  Let's face it,  life is unpredictable.

That doesn't mean we can't have hopes and dreams. We may not realize all of these dreams because the unexpected can necessitate adaptation.  But I do know that one can best cope with the challenges of the present by remaining optimistic about the future.  Finding "thin slices of joy" as author Chade-Meng Tan writes in his book Joy on Demand, helps us weather the storms and develop an inner peace and joyfulness.

I hope, in 2018, to continue to find many 'thin slices of joy' - like the joy I felt tonight when  I stepped outside to put the compost in the bin and saw this moon rising over the neighbour's garage:

Or the delight that filled my heart  last Friday, when an Anna's hummingbird waited in the rain for me to fill the feeder:

In 2018, I hope to again fill my soul with joy at sunrise as I sit on the beach with my dog, and to marvel at the beauty of the landscape as I drive to the store or hike in the woods or simply look out my window at fog rising from Maple Mountain.  I hope to experience  joy from unexpected moments of delight, a sudden burst of laughter, a humorous quip from a friend, a shared smile and short chat with another dog owner on the seawalk.  So many thin slices of joy to make my day, my week, my year complete.

I do hope for some other slices of joy too -

I hope to experience the joy of  finding a new place to call home, one in a strata where I won't have outside maintenance or a garden to maintain or manage.  Yes there will be some sadness especially if it means moving away from friends and seaside, but there will be new friends to meet, new places to explore, and new slices of joy to savor.

And I plan to experience the joy of disconnecting more frequently from a media that has become full of drama queens (and drama kings, and drama presidents),  of bad news, and  of never ending analysis of the same-old-same-old.  I have recently been rediscovering the joy of reading a good mystery from cover to cover  on a dreary rainy day  letting neither computer nor radio nor even the dog distract me from this endeavor.  And music!  I have been rotating through all my CDs this past week, discovering the joy of forgotten songs and compositions.  Such joy!

I know I'll feel joy from doing my very best for my animals, looking after their health, keeping them safe and content, making  decisions that put their well being to the forefront.  They bring me joy every single day.

Most of all, I look forward to both thin slices of joy and big fat chunks of it as I watch Maggie continue to blossom, gain confidence, respond to friends.  I hope to experience the joy of seeing her  show her funny, silly, exuberant sheltie nature to others as she does to me.

Ah could find a slice of joy from chasing the cat, mom! 

With hopes and dreams and thin slices of joy, one can find an inner strength to manage  a day-to-day world of turmoil, whether personal or global.  And so I wish you  many slices of joy in your life.  May 2018 see you achieve some of your hopes and dreams, whatever they may be, and may you meet your challenges with strength and positive energy.

Happy New Year.  Let's raise a glass to slices of joy in 2018.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

My Practically Perfect Christmas, by Maggie

I waz good this year!  I made Santa's "NICE" list!  I did, I did!  Mama said if I was a good dog, Santa wud sneak into our house Christmas Eve and leave gifts fer me, and HE DID!  Boy, that was excitin' !

Santa  came!

Anyway, Mama is busy putting the Christmas decorations away, so she asked me to be a guest blogger today.  So I will tell you all about my Wonderful Marvelous Practically Perfect Christmas Day.

It started to snow Christmas Eve.  Mama was a bit worried in case she couldn't drive to Auntie Pat's on Christmas Day like she'd planned.  Instead, we woke up to perfect conditions - just a couple of centimeters fresh snow to make the world look bootiful, but warm enough that the roads (which the plow cleared during the night) were wet and  free of snow or ice.

The tree on our patio (which Mama decorates at Christmas and calls "Oliver's Tree" after a sheltie that died the day she got the tree) looked very pretty with the snow.  The hummingbirds were cold, but mama filled the feeders for them, and also put out suet cakes for the other birdies.

But I'z getting ahead of myself.  The first thing we did after getting up was check out the presents!  There waz a stocking for Allie and a stocking for me and even a stocking fer my Mama (though I happen to know the pressies in that stocking were mailed by one of Santa's elves in California.  Mama says Santa's sleigh gets pretty heavy with all the gifts for good little dogs and cats, so the elves and the postal service help out with gifts for grown ups).


Anything more in there?

Want some help, Allie?

My mama made the "NICE" list, too! 

 Allie also got a new cat condo from Mama (but she got it early because it waz too big to wrap), and I got a new food toy.  I likes food toys. This one waz pretty easy, 'cause my treats are a lot smaller than the hole in the ball.  I just hasta spin that ball with my paw and - poof - treats appear!

Allie checkin' out her new kitty condo

Me an' my new toy.  It's made by Kong.
Ya gotta spin the blue ball inside the red ring to make the treats fall out! 

After we opened our stockings and had brekkie, Mama and me went for a loooong walk around town and all along the seawalk and down on the beach. (Oh, yeah, Mama bought me somethin' else fer Christmas - boots!  Fer her paws, not fer my paws.  They has special non-slip crystals embedded into the sole and they works GREAT so now she can still take me on my walks even when it is snowy and icy! She doesn't like  those things you slip over your boots - Yaktrax - cuz they is deadly when ya hit pavement, but these boots are just fine.)  Anyway, Mama put on the magic boots and off we went.  The sun waz shining, the snow waz glistening, and everythin' was real pretty!

Crofton Beach Park

Mah Mama's new boots work good, even on the seawalk! 

Some peoples decorated a tree on the beach,  It has lotsa pretty things on it,
like this toy soldier. 

Mama liked the way this ornament looked with the snow on it.

Mama says this is a plover, probably a semipalmated one though he still has his summer plumage.
She thinks he was too small, short, and fat to be a killdeer. 

Even I know this bird!  It's a seagull! 

The sunlight made fer nice reflections of the ferry and other boats.

I was tired when we got home, which was fine because Mama went over to Auntie Pat's for a midday Christmas dinner.  I didn't go because I am just beginning to learn to visit other peoples without freaking out, and besides Chrissy (Lexi and Cosmo's older sister) might not ap-preesh-iate the intrusion.  But I know that's where Mama went 'cause I snuck a look at the photos on her camera.

Mama said they had Seafood Oscar and some drunken mushrooms and
that Auntie Pat had to bake the potatoes twice! 

Lexi, checkin' out other guests arriving

You know my buddy Cosmo.  I hikes with him and Lexi. 

This is their older sister, Chrissy.
I think she's mom's favourite.
Probably because she's almost the same colour as me!

When Mama came home, she broughts me 'n Allie gifts from Auntie Pat, and she brought home sum leftovers too (but she didn't share the grasshopper pie with me, nor the rum cake.  Hmmmph!).  She took me fer another walk, an' then she feds Allie and me, and later we all went to sleep. 

It was a Practically Perfect Christmas, dontcha think?

Love, Maggie.