Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Walking in Wildflowers

My backlog of photos from the herring run and numerous hikes of the past two months remains unsorted and unedited (well, partially sorted and partially edited) and my blog neglected, but the following photos from yesterday's hike have been getting so much attention on facebook that I just have to share them here for the couple of non-facebook blog readers who are still checking in daily in hopes of finding something to view while they sip their morning coffee.

Yesterday's hike was more of a walk among wildflowers, an easy trek at Harewood Plains in south Nanaimo.  We spent about four hours up there, exploring every trail available to find every pocket and meadow of jaw-dropping spring flowers. 

The pink meadows above are mostly a flower called sea blush, but there was lots of other flowers to be found.  Blue camas (not quite at its peak yet) and yellow monkeyflower were plentiful, as was spring gold, popcorn flower, buttercups, shooting stars, and flowering hawthorn bushes.

We didn't find any bog birdfoot trefoil, a rare plant found only in five places in Canada according to the internet, the most profuse of which is at Harewood Plains.  I think we were a couple of weeks early for it, so I may try to go back again before the end of the month. And while we didn't see the bog birdfoot, there was no lack of beauty to enjoy.

And what would a post about flowers be without one last shot of a certain sheltie posing amid the flowers?

Get out there and enjoy the spring.  It won't be long before we are complaining of the heat. (And who knows, maybe then I'll have time to post more often while sitting in a shady office, fan blasting cool air on my face!).

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Where's that blogger gone?

Where's that blogger lady gone?
She said she had herring run photos to show you!

I'll see if I can find her!

I'm sure things are going swimmingly.

She's probably taking time to reflect.

No doubt things are just ducky.

Maggie here.  I'll tell you what we've been up to.
After taking 1000 pictures of the herring run, 

we explored a new park every day for a week,

and discovered really neat places near home!
And then....then we went to the mainland,

where we went to MORE parks,
and also visited with friends,
where Mama took more photographs,
photos of silly horses,

and silly dogs,

and smiling sleeping piggies, 

and me!
And now she has about 2000 photos to edit, and a dozen blogs to write, and - whew! - I'm tired just thinking about it.
Oh, wait, Mama's calling!  Time to go find another new park!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Come along wiv me! by Maggie

Hi.  It's me! Maggie!  Mama's busy editing a kazillion photos from the herring run and from our recent explorations, so do you wanna come fer a walk wiv me?  Let's go to Englishman River Estuary park right here in Parksville.  It's become one of several favourite new hikes of mine.  There's lots of trails,  several loops around the estuary with viewpoints, as well as an anglers' trail riverside heading upstream.  We've been there a bunch of times and never done the exact same walk twice.

This morning we started by going upstream, along the anglers' trail.  That's where the photo above was taken.  I sure sit nicely, don't I?  Mama sez it is hard to say what's more bootiful - me or the scenery! 

Here's another shot of bootiful me and bootiful scenery! 

After we went along the anglers' trail awhile, we headed back toward the estuary and the viewpoints.  There were lots of birds singing and calling - kingfishers and pileated woodpeckers, little wrens and chickadees, herons and ducks and Canada geese and Brant geese, and lots and lots of eagles.  Mama took this photo of two of the eagles:

Along the side of the park closest to the ocean, we saw lots of waterbirds.  Some of the fields and paths closest to the birds are closed for restoration, but I'm not allowed to chase the birds anyway.  Mama sez that wouldn't be fair to the ducks and geese and gulls.  The views are nice though.

While we were there, I saw a pom that looked just like my pal Parker (he's Lexi's and Cosmo's little brother, and he's kinda orangey coloured like me).  I wanted to play with him, but it wasn't Parker and his hooman just let him say hi and walked on.  I stared for a long time, trying to will him to come back.
Hey! Mister! Bring that Parker-doppleganger back here!

Eventually, mom and me started our way back on the far side of the biggest loop trail.  It's a narrower trail, through the brush, but there's a pretty swamp with white puffy clouds reflecting in it.

On the last part of the return loop, the trail goes along the back of some people's homes.  We saw lots of spring blossoms happening - some in the park, some in their yards.  I thought these ones were especially pretty, so I told Mama to take a picture of them:

Well, that's about it.  Hope you enjoyed your walk wiv me.  I'll tell Mama to hurry up wiv those other photos, of sea lions and birds and boats and stuff. But only after she takes me to excitin'  new places.  Because I'm Number One, y'know!

Love, Maggie.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Maggie says.......

It's spring!  It's finally spring!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

This is my life

Ever feel like things are flying at you from every direction? Sort of like Hitchcock's movie "The Birds?"   My intention to post at least once a week kind of went by the wayside - company for a week, plus my great-niece dancing in Duncan for several days, plus spring finally arriving, plus ....oh my goodness......the herring run!  For the past three days, I've been out taking a thousand photos of sea lions and eagles and all kinds of birds while I write blog posts in my mind that never get transcribed to the blog as I'm too tired to edit photos and write when I get home!  The above photo was just one of many amazing experiences, this shot taken about five minutes by car  from here. 

I took this one the day before, near the same place - one of at least a hundred sea lions feasting on the herring:

Anyway, I just wanted to let my readers know I'm still alive.  An update to Windows 10 has been interfering with some of my photo editing programs and my ability to upload edited photos, so posting will continue to be a bit tardy - lack of time, too many photos, frustrating technology. 

But I will be back.  Touch wood.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The sandpiper who thought he was an ostrich

There are always sandpipers along our beach, and I love watching the flocks race around, fly in aerodynamic precision, and generally stick together in all kinds of weather.

A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to photograph a very large flock sitting huddled together in cold, windy weather on a little strip of sandbar at low tide:

They are lovely little birds, and I focused in closer on a few along the shore:

I tend to put the camera on "continuous shoot" for living creatures so I can capture minute movements and unexpected actions. It continues shooting many times per second as long as I have my finger on the button.  It often isn't until I look at the photos on the computer that I see things I couldn't catch with the human eye.  Like this little guy, who thought he was an ostrich*:

(*To set the record straight, ostriches don't really bury their heads in the sand.  But they dig holes in the sand to make a nest for their eggs, then stick their heads in the holes to turn the eggs several times a day: thus the illusion of burying their heads in the sand! In the above picture, I suspect the sandpiper was merely trying to grab some tasty morsel from the shallows of sand and water along the shoreline.)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A note to my regular blog readers

Recently I received an email from Google and then a notice posted on Blogger re some changes that may affect the blog if my readers or myself use Google Plus.  I don't have a clue what they mean (I'm on Google + on my tablet, but only on plain google on my laptop as far as I can tell).  I tried following their directions for saving any photos and comments, but didn't understand them, and don't have room on my laptop for storing over 10 years of blog posts and tens of thousands of blog photos or comments (I do have the photos stored on my own computer and backup harddrives, but not within the blog posts).  So....just a head's up that it is quite possible that some posts, some photos, and some comments - or even my whole blog template - may disappear.  I'm not interested in learning a completely different platform like Wordpress, so it is what it is.  As I saw no visible change to the blog on the announced date of Feb 4, I'm hoping I am safe, but the final consequence won't be known until March sometime, possibly April (according to the most recent email on the topic).   Here's what was posted by Blogger on the Blogger site: 

Following the announcement of Google+ API deprecation scheduled for March 2019, a number of changes will be made to Blogger’s Google+ integration on 4 February 2019. 
Google+ widgets: Support for the '+1 Button', 'Google+ Followers' and 'Google+ Badge' widgets in Layout will no longer be available. All instances of these widgets will be removed from your blog. 
+1 buttons: The +1/G+ buttons and Google+ share links below blog posts and in the navigation bar will be removed. 
Please note that if you have a custom template that includes Google+ features, you may need to update your template. Please contact your template supplier for advice. 
Google+ Comments: Support for Google+ comments will be turned down, and all blogs using Google+ comments will be reverted back to using Blogger comments. Unfortunately, comments posted as Google+ comments cannot be migrated to Blogger and will no longer appear on your blog. 
As I said, I'm not interested in learning a different blog platform or trying to figure this out, so there is a chance this will be the end of my blogging career. I'll try to post a blog or photo at least once a week to see if things are still working - but I won't know if the comments are working unless you comment (I will still moderate them, so even if they are working it could take a day before they show up). 
Edited to add: I have noticed a significant lack of response and/or views for the last post I put up ("House Arrest"), so it is possible that it has already been affected. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

House Arrest!

Last month, we were having a great time outdoors, enjoying our snow-free winter and early spring.  Last month, we hiked a lot, we played on the beach a lot, we explored the city a lot. 

The daffodils and other spring flowers were opening their colourful faces to the sun:

The birds were plentiful,  feasting at low tide, swimming at high tide, male ducks beginning to show the start of their mating colours:

It was so warm, in fact, that Maggie thought she could go swimming  (until she ran out of leash and her mean mama refused to wade in with her!):

We had days of high wind which brought in a lot of flotsam and jetsam, but that didn't stop Maggie from enjoying the beach:

We walked further and further on our morning walks, finding new vistas, exploring different roads and green spaces and areas of beach:

People were out hiking and fishing, paddleboarding and flying around with powered parachutes:

I experimented more with my new camera, finding interesting closeups and trying my hand at capturing the super blood moon lunar eclipse: 

Just a boring old log we pass almost every day......

....until you squat down and look through the middle.

Clam shell on sand ripples

Three shots of super blood moon lunar eclipse

The only white on the ground was up high in the mountains, or whitecaps on the water:

And then this happened:

And this happened:

And this happened:

And THIS happened:


No, Maggie's bandaged foot wasn't a result of the snow, though the wound combined with snow and ice put us on house arrest. 

This is a funny hat! What holiday are we celebrating this time, Mama?

Maggie was scheduled for a dental on February 4th, and in the pre-dental workup I asked her vet about a lump that had suddenly appeared on to top of her foot, about where the ankle would be if dogs had ankles.  We decided the vet would aspirate it while she was sedated for the dental.  But two weeks later, when I took her for the dental, the lump had grown so much that we decided to remove the whole thing rather than risk having to put her under a second time in short succession should the pathology show a problem.  As it happens, the pathology came back benign, thank goodness. 

It's not an easy surgery, as that part of the leg has very little skin with which to close a fairly large wound.  Small slits are made around the sides  of the area where the lump was removed, in order to be able to stretch enough skin to cover the wound.  It will be a long and slow recovery.  The stitched area over the wound looks pretty good to me (the stitches should come out later today), but the side slits are still raw. She is awesome about letting me change the dressing, thank goodness, but not so awesome about doing Houdini maneuvers to reach around her cone with her long sheltie snout and try to rip off the bandage.   I am tied to her 24-7, pretty much. Or at least within eyesight of her. 

At least ah can still play with my treat ball on our covered patio!  

At the moment, she is on short walks when there is a short section of dry sidewalk I can take her to (thankfully, snow disappears quickly around here - but thumbs down to people who don't shovel their walks resulting in a mess of slippery, icy, lumpy stuff that creates too much of a walking hazard for me and for Maggie!). However, for much of the past two weeks she has been on house arrest due to the phenomenal amount of snow, except for wee excursions into the back patio area to do her business. She has a collection of footwear and bandages - from vetwrap with sheep or pigs on it, to a rubber boot for heading outside for a quick pee, to a purple 'balloon' that covers her bandage for other short excursions - and a non slip sock-monkey sock which holds her bandage in place and helps her move around the house. The latter is my favourite. 😊

Maggie models a few of her wardrobe additions.

A day of rain and a day of sun this week,  and much of the 20" of snow has disappeared except where it was piled up by plows or left on sidewalks to be pounded into ice by passing feet.  I'm hoping that after today's checkup she will be cleared for somewhat longer walks once the ground is ice-free and snow-free, though her bandage will likely remain on for quite a while yet until the side-slits have healed more. 

Meanwhile, we watch birds through the window, play a lot of puzzle games and do some training in the house, and long for days when we can get back to the parks and the beaches.  

Anna's Hummingbird sits on a tree outside our window

Except the beach near our house will be off limits for the next two months as the migrating Brandt geese rest and feed here on their long journey from Mexico back up to Alaska.  No dogs, on leash or off, allowed on any of the Oceanside beaches from Mar 1st (or Feb 15, in some places) until May 1st.   We saw the first of the migration before the snow came, during our early fooled-ya spring in January: 

Black Brandt geese with a few photobombing sandpipers and a seagull

Maggie is going to be so bummed out!

Wake me when it's over.
House Arrest is so boring.
Life without the beach? Unimaginable!