Monday, January 25, 2010

The Gift

Some time back - in late November or early December - the university I used to teach at held its annual retirement dinner to honor all those who had retired in the past year. I was unable to attend but one of my former colleagues made a point of picking up my retirement gifts and getting them to me. In addition to the proverbial gold watch from Birks for serving 20 years, and a lovely Mats Jonasson crystal sculpture, there was the university's traditional gift to its parting members - a caricature of the retiree with his/her non-academic hobbies, created by Fraser Valley artist Dennis Smith. While all the gifts are lovely, the caricature is the one I cherish most - it makes me smile every time I look at it:

It shall form the centre of an arrangement of framed photos of my critters, past and present, on my bedroom or office wall.

And, just in case you think I've fallen off the edge of the planet or drowned in our lovely bay - I likely won't be posting again until at least Sunday as I'm off to the mainland once more to visit mom, Emma, the piggies, and some friends. My critters, of course, will be in the very capable hands of their Auntie Else.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Needs No Words

Crofton Sunrise, January 24, 2010: 7:15 AM

Saturday, January 23, 2010

And a few more Wednesday Walk shots.....

The short hike to Crofton Lake on Wednesday, featured in the last two posts, kept my camera clicking. We are experiencing lovely weather here (touch wood....I hope I didn't just jinx it!) and being outdoors in shirt sleeves instead of winter jackets is pure pleasure.

The hike begins at the top of my road, where we enter the woods on a narrow muddy trail which soon widens to an old access road - Crofton Lake used to be the water source for the village. It is a gradual uphill climb - enough that we have to stop to rest once or twice, but not so much to create discomfort.

Uphill climb

Drew stops for a dip and a drink

Hiking through filtered sunlight

Twenty minutes later we emerge from the trees and onto the dike that frames the lake.

At the lake

The lake is encircled by trees, hills and distant mountains, and one can imagine oneself miles from civilization. It reminds me of the many backpacking trips I did in my pre-arthritis days, where nights were spent under the stars or in a teeny tent on the shores of a remote lake. Light reflects on water and mirror images of trees, reeds, and even dogs appear. My friend Mary (Tarben's mom) sent me these two amazing shots:

Reflections of reeds

(Photo by Mary)

Reflections of dog

(Photo by Mary)

The dogs run around, chasing each other in the clearing by the dike or swimming in the chilly water.

Kabuki, Archie and Tess having fun

Let's play!

A favourite activity for the water dogs

Tess dives, Vimy watches

(Photo by Mary)

Splash down!

The dogs frequently run back to find their human, checking in and looking for treats:


We stay for an hour, chatting, taking photos, watching dogs having fun. Then back down the trail (there is a longer circular route, but it is a bit too much for my old dogs so we have only taken it once) to where the cars are parked. Happy, tired dogs head home where they will nap for the rest of the day.

I'm pooped!

Can we go home now?

The End

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dogs with Logs

The following photo essay is the combined photography effort of Mary (Tarben's mom, and my neighbour) and myself, taken on the Wednesday Walk yesterday.

A wee bit of background: Drew, the reddish-blond dog, loves to go after sticks in the water. Tarben, the bulldogge, hates water but does love to gnaw on sticks. Crofton Lake has a dike running along its shore - raised well above the edge of the water.

And THIS is what we observed yesterday afternoon - a true testament to the determination, perseverance and problem-solving abilities of our canine companions. Please note, there was absolutely NO human intervention in the feat you are about to observe.'s a fine looking stick

(Note its postion in the water)

Someone help me get it out of here!

See, ya gotta spin it a bit like this!

Watch those splinters, though - yuk!

A little closer...

Amost got it!

Okay, someone wanna throw this for me????

Somebody? Anybody? Whatd'ya mean it's too big??

Looks fine to me.....just gotta get it out of this yucky wet stuff!

Maybe if I grab it with my mouth?


and pull.......

And pull.....


Maybe a little leap will help....

Or a push from this angle...

Or I'll drag it wiv my mouf

Umphf - almost got it!

That's more like it!

I'll just walk this end up to the top....

This is good.

Now to get that other end away from the wet stuff.

Arrrghhh! H e a v y !

Amost there....

Did it! It won't roll back into that yucky, yucky wet stuff now!

Now, where's that perfect chewing spot?

Ahhhh.....nom nom nom nom nom.........