Monday, August 31, 2015

No Horses, No Owls.....

Although the place where I was horse-sitting last week is only just over an hour north of here, and only ten minutes or so inland, the ecosystem  seemed quite different - drier air, hotter sun, cooler nights, trees taller and more sparsely branched,  with a feel to the air that reminds me of the Okanagan. Perhaps it was coincidence - our long hot dry summer is coming to a close, and even a small change in elevation can bring a marked change in the environment and temperature.

Bright fall colours
a week earlier than in Crofton

The property I stayed at is quite high up, offering distant views of mountains to the northeast and a feeling of incredible freedom in all directions - no dark ugly condos staring one in the face here!

Mountains in the distance,
not a condo in sight!

Some things are familiar - the deer are plentiful, just as they are here in Crofton, though I was surprised how many very young, still spotted, fawns I saw.  Here in Crofton, most have lost their spots already.  Perhaps the slightly different ecosystem and climate means ours are born a bit sooner.

Spotted fawn prances across the field

The rabbits are even more plentiful - on one evening's walk, I counted over 30 on a neighbour's lawn, in an area no bigger than my own small front yard.  They ranged from very teeny newborns to granddaddies twice the size of little Mitzi.  They are very skittish, and trying to get more than one in a frame was impossible - lift the camera, even from many yards away, and they skedaddled to the safety of the shrubs.

Run, rabbit, run, rabbit
Run Run Run

The geese were already heading south, and we saw and heard several flocks overhead.  This group had just risen from a nearby field and was hurrying to catch up with the rest of its v-formation:

The geese are on the wing

One evening, Mitzi and I went for a long walk up the road, passing by a spot where yellow grasses waved in the foreground of  a ridge of trees at the edge of what seemed to be a cliff - we couldn't check it out as it appeared to be private property, and besides dusk was quickly becoming dark. But we did take the time to capture these two shots:

Multi-toned rock in grass

Grasses, trees, and endless sky

The night sky and sunsets often took my breath away.  At twilight the towering, sparsely-branched or barren trees and short bushy shrubs turned into black silhouettes against a deepening blue sky, and the orange and red of the setting sun could soon be seen along the horizon.

Twilight at 'the ranch'

Sunset through the trees

But perhaps the most fascinating sight - other than the owls whose photos I posted last week - occurred not at dusk but in the afternoon.  A cloud began moving in, and all along the wavy leading edge of the cloud was...... a rainbow!  Not the traditional arc so often seen here, and not the pulsating prism of Northern Lights I came to know and love when I lived in the Northwest Territories, but a simple undulating rainbow ribbon that stretched along the length of the huge cloud mass  - too huge to get all in one shot - as it made its way across the azure sky.

I watched the rainbow ribbon for half an hour as it moved in unison with the cloud, never deepening but never fading,  until it was time for me to feed the horses. By the time I returned to my camera, the rainbow was gone. The memory, however, will stay with me for a long, long time:


CarolineA said...

I did not know such rainbows existed, simply breathtaking!
We've seen a few promises of northern lights to come, I had dearly missed them and can't wait to be amazed again!
There are geese here too but won't be flying around in circles like they did in the Lower Mainland. I think here they will actually fly south, lol
Beautiful pics Jean, you have no idea how much they are enjoyed and admired!

Wendy Hamilton said...

Beautiful surroundings.. I am wondering if it's near the Courtney/Comox area?...It's much flatter there... Weather has taken a swift turn here too..Cooler temps. & back to rainy coast we are accustom to..

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful place these people live. I can only dream of living on property like that. Your pictures are beautiful and that rainbow is amazing. I've never seen anything like it.