Saturday, October 27, 2012

Three Boys, a Dog, and an old Tire Swing

Last Sunday dawned sunny and crisp, so Eddie and I decided to head to Osborne Bay Park instead of doing our usual morning sea walk loop.   We headed down the trail, amid fall colours and fallen leaves, Eddie with his tail held high and a swagger to his walk.  Across the fields, through the trees, and down the path to the beach we traipsed.

Let's go,  mom! This way!

Enroute, Eddie practiced his recall - running ahead, returning when called, covering twice the distance his mama did.

I'm comin' I'm comin'!

The tide was in, but there was still a bit of shoreline for us to explore.

Soon we were joined by a couple with their three young boys.  The boys headed straight for the old tire swing which hangs from a tree leaning over the beach.  Laughter rang out as they took turns swinging and pushing, cooperating among themselves to ensure they all had fun.  Their smiles were contagious, and I asked their parents for permission to take photos for the paper (for a future column) and the blog.

Three brothers cooperate in play.



Flying over the water
Sheer joy!

I only had the point and shoot, with a fairly low battery which unfortunately affects the autofocus and also the speed for continuous action shots. And as is so often the case, the ones that were sharp were less well composed, and the ones that were well composed were slightly out of focus.  However, shifting some of the latter to black and white helped emphasize the composition and de-emphasize the fuzz.  These are two of my favourites:

Eddie had to get in on the action too!

Soon we headed back up the trail, glad we had taken the time to go for a walk in the park.

Eddie and his Floofy Tail head for home.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Eddie has a new friend!

Rajah, Eddie's new friend

After a lengthy search, my friends Margaret and Peter, whose lovely old dog Sam passed away at my home in June 2011, have found the right companion to share their home.

Margaret, Peter and Rajah
(used with permission)
Rajah is a four year old collie,  and has spent much of his life either outdoors or in a boarding kennel.  He is adjusting to being a full-fledged family member very well. Rajah is being adopted through Cross Our Paws Rescue, in North Vancouver.  A big "thumbs up" to Cross our Paws for taking in Rajah, and to his foster mom for loving him until the right match was found. And a big thank you to Margaret and Peter for choosing to adopt from a reputable rescue.  Happy endings make my heart sing!

Rajah arrived at their home October 7th for a two week trial period, which he passed with flying colours.  Eddie and I went for a walk with him around Chemainus Lake about a week ago, in the pouring rain.  Today, we had a more pleasant walk at Echo Heights,  on a cool but dry fall day.

Rajah on the trail

He has lovely dog-social skills, and walks beautifully on leash unless he scents a deer or spies a cat - he is apparently quite prey driven and believes cats are evil.

Allie:  He thinks cats are evil?
What ever would give him THAT idea?

But Eddie is quite content to spend time with him, so we anticipate many hours of enjoyable walks and hikes together.

Margaret, Eddie and Rajah
On the trail in Echo Heights

Welcome to the island, Rajah.  You are one very fortunate and already well-loved dog.
Congratulations, Margaret and Peter, on the latest addition to your family.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Painting the Town Red....and yellow and gold

Virginia creeper lines a fence
A few days ago when my doggy cyberfriend Georgia Little Pea and her Typist, who live Down Under, blogged about the arrival of spring and showed us photos of trees in bloom and their newly-painted bright red shed door, I felt a bit jealous.  My shed door needs painting, I love red, and I remember the happy feelings the arrival of spring brings.  Up Here it seems like almost overnight our hot dry summer became chilly, damp autumn. In fact, autumn seems to be rushing into winter.  On the way to Eddie's class this morning I spied a light dusting of snow covering the tops of nearby mountains. Brrrrrrr.

But looking around me on a blustery fall day, it seems like we have just as much colour in our lives in fall as they do in an Australian spring.  The brilliant yellow maples along the sea walk, the scarlet trees on Joan Avenue, the multi-coloured hillsides all around us provide more colour than Crayola has crayons.  With the sun low in the sky, and the skies sometimes blue,  sometimes silvery grey, often a mix of both as winds puff clouds and weather systems through one after the other, the landscape changes by the hour.

Eddie and I see lots of colour on our morning walks.

Winter Crocuses bloom in a front yard, 

blackberries ripen on the path to the seawalk,

and though the colours along the seawalk are subtle from the berm, 

and from the harbour parking lot,

Up close, the trees are beautiful. 

Even the crew building the seawalk extension
sport red and yellow tools.
 I can't wait for the extension to be completed.  It was originally scheduled for June, then September, then October.  It's getting close, but I'm betting the grand opening won't be until spring.  We're on Island Time here.

In this next photo you can see the extension.  The existing seawalk would be to the right of (outside of) the photo, then there is the gravel path visible along the front of the RV park,  And then the new extension, taking walkers around the smaller bay and over to a whiter, sandier beach and small park.  It will make for a great walk once finished.

Crofton Sea Walk Phase 3 - extension to Crofton Beach Park.

But back to the colours of fall in Crofton and the Cowichan Valley:

On Thursday, Gail and I took the dogs to Swallowfield.  

This bridge marks the turn into Swallowfield, 

Where fall colours are reflected in the Chemainus River. 

A moment of sunlight illuminates the landscape.

Gail, Sadie B and Eddie on the estuary.
Sadie:  "Throw the stick, throw the stick, throw the stick!"
Eddie:  "Look! I'm sitting!  I get a treat, a treat, a treat!"

Chemainus River wends through the trees,

And Sadie B enjoys a swim. 

And then it's time to head home. 

Enroute, we stop to capture more colour, 

But we've also brought fall indoors, with these
Japanese (or Chinese) lanterns our
neighbour Mary gave us.

And while we don't have a red shed door, Georgia,
we just had this old dark brown wood buffet redone!
(Thanks, Lesley from Embellish! in Duncan)

And so we have fall both outside and in - reds and yellows and orange and green, greys and blues and silvers, and - um - white?  No. No No No No No Snow.  Not Yet!

I guess it's time to put the snow tires on.

Maybe I should paint them red.

Just joking!  These were ones I painted for garden planters this summer!

All seasons have their magic - no matter where you live. Have a nice spring, Georgia Little Pea.  And we'll enjoy the fall.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Trip - Part Five: Coming Home

Mill Lake, Abbotsford, BC

The last two nights of our trip were spent back in the Fraser Valley at Ann and Ken's house.   Eddie was still terrified of the stairs down to our basement suite in their home, but was more settled this time being left down there while I visited upstairs for a while. On Sunday morning, I took him for a long walk, then left him in their care while I headed to Cloverdale for a  family gathering to celebrate my mom's 94th birthday.

It's not often our small family can gather the clan all in one place, but we did pretty well.  My sister-in-law Bev and her mom Pearl even drove down from the Okanagan (where Eddie and I had just visited with them) for the occasion.  Also attending the party were my brother, my daughter, my two favourite cousins, and my nephew's mother-in-law.  My two nephews, one touring Europe with his family and one in Winnipeg, were understandably not able to make it.   We feasted on sandwiches and pickles and peach cobbler and birthday cake, drank tea and coffee and OJ, and talked and sang 'Happy Birthday' and opened gifts, and laughed.  And laughed and laughed.  Getting together is such a joyous occasion for us all. Mom had a very good time.

Mom, on her 94th birthday

Back to the Fraser Valley, where Eddie waited for my return - as long as he didn't have to climb the stairs or negotiate hallways or elevators, he was just fine thank you, though he'd rather be camping. We compromised   by going to one of my favourite Abbotsford parks - Mill Lake, a beautiful oasis in the heart of town but easily accessed without much traffic in the mornings. When we lived in the Fraser Valley, I used to walk Sadie and Charley there often - a 2.5 km path loops around the lake.  It is just as beautiful, and in the early morning hours just as peaceful, as I remembered:

Large trees spread their branches above grassy lawns,

While leaves and marsh divide path from lake,
And lily pads provide shelter for frogs and fish.

There are resting places where one can watch the birds, 

And scenes more reminiscent of country than city.

Beautiful stone walls add a touch of old-world charm, 

And a walkway reminds us of home!

(Though Eddie insisted it was different, and
just as scary as halls, stairs and elevators!)

So we went back the way we came. 

And then we headed back to the ferry

B.C. flag atop BC Ferries

And soon we were back home!

Back home to Allie, 
'Bout time!  Whereya bin?

Back home to our Sea Walk

Back home to Crofton Lake:

And back home to our doggy friends, Sadie B and Georgi who we were looking after for the weekend, 

I love my family.
I love my friends.
I love my beautiful, beautiful province.
And I love coming home.

Sunrise on Osborne Bay

It's good to be back.