Posted by: Kate | May 24, 2015

The Trees in the Forest

It is easy to get caught up in the majesty and immensity of west coast forests. They are really really big, after all. But sometimes it is good to remember that a forest is made up of individual trees, and those trees are just as amazing as the forest they create.

IMG_0818A good place to do this is in Cathedral Grove, here on Vancouver Island. On the road to Port Alberni and the west coast, Cathedral Grove is a small, unassuming piece of forest on the highway. But step off the highway and onto the paths of the forest, and the trees start to tell their story. The park has been around for a long time, and there are sign boards throughout giving a museum-quality introduction to the trees and aspects of their lives in the forest.

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Cathedral Grove has a giant Douglas Fir (the tree that makes up a large part of our island forests) that is well over 800 years old. It is humbling and more than awe-inspiring to stand in front of it and feel very little and insignificant.big tree

The Grove is very popular with tourists, but the four adult islanders who went to the park that day all admitted the last time they were likely there was as teen-agers. We can’t do that, I don’t think, we can’t forget our local history nor take for granted our great wealth. Those trees are a legacy to this island, and they deserve to be recognized as more than a forest.IMG_0810

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Posted by: Kate | May 19, 2015

Camping Traditions

The long week-end that we got married, we slept in a tent in my Mum’s front yard. Space was at a premium and we wanted to test out our new tent that we had bought to backpack around Europe. 20 years later, we still camp every May long week-end.

Most of those long week-ends have been spent with close friends of ours from down island, which makes the tradition even more special. There is an ease when camping with people you are so familiar with, and with whom you have set up many campsites.

We also try to change up the campgrounds, finding new to us places every few years. This year we went to Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. A beautiful park where we enjoyed the walking trails, the campground amenities (flush toilets oh my!), and the beautiful falls.

A week-end of talking, walking, geocaching, ice cream and shopping, campfires, storybook reading, laughter and relaxation. Good times.

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Posted by: Kate | May 12, 2015

Project Focus

My garden is overwhelming this year. It really needed serious work and new soil last year, but that didn’t happen, so now it is in dire straits. At first I was a bit dejected, but then I remembered my word. Focus. I’ve broken it up into manageable bites that I can focus on one at a time. It may not all get fixed or done up totally this year, but at least the areas I do will get done right.japanese maple2

This week-end that focus was on the front entry way and garden. My japanese maple is finally cascading the way it should, but it also had overgrown the path up to the front door. So this week-end I dug out the pavers, cut back and pulled out plants on the other side, and re-made the path. Then on Sunday when the guys asked what I wanted to do for Mothers Day I asked them for a few hours outside. We cleaned the entrance area top to bottom, even washing the siding.

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If I look beyond I can see that there is still a lot of work to be done. But I will choose to look instead at what was accomplished, evidence that using focus works.

Posted by: Kate | May 6, 2015

Spring Walks

With the light later in the evenings and the sunny week-ends we’ve been having, Mr. Kate and I have been going for very nice walks in and around our neighbourhood. We are fortunate to have a number of trails as well as great streets to walk along near our home, so we mix it up as not to get bored. April was a beautiful month, and I took my camera with me a number of times to practise.

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I am determined to understand my camera in manual settings, so a number of these pictures had to be edited for lighting once I loaded them onto the computer. I find in manual my pictures are coming out very dark, so I will have to read up on my settings some more and see what I need to adjust. I’m having fun though!

Posted by: Kate | April 27, 2015

West Coast Wanderings

A stolen week-end away for Mr. Kate and me, over in Tofino on the west coast of the island. A resort on the water’s edge, a lovely little suite all to ourselves, a place to sit and look out over the ocean. A day of exploring and walking, of talking and laughing, of eating good food. Feeling 17 or 20 or 25 all over again, until catching a reflection of 42 in a window – and being thankful to be here at this time in my life over 20 years later with this person beside me on the journey as well.

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Posted by: Kate | April 17, 2015

Rhubarb Musings

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I love rhubarb. Those vibrant red stalks and shiny green platter size leaves that burst out of the ground in early spring always make me smile. As a child I loved stewed rhubarb, made with rhubarb fresh from the garden. And now I use rhubarb in baking, jams and in my morning oatmeal. My one plant is so prolific I end up freezing some and giving away lots as well. It’s one of the those plants that thrives on neglect once it’s in the right place in the garden, never sulking or asking for preferential treatment. My kind of plant!

Posted by: Kate | April 9, 2015

Yarn ENDeavours

I have been knitting, but it’s a stealth project that I can’t show here. But progress I can prove…

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There is something so satisfying about ends! Now I am done and can move on to other projects in my list, including another one that I won’t be able to share here at all until it’s gone to its recipient.

Posted by: Kate | April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday

Today the sun is shining and I am working out in the garden at last. It feels great, and I’m taking lots of progress pictures to share! But for now I’m sharing photos from yesterday. It was a blustery day and I joined my mum for a walk along the Tsolum River. In between rain showers I took photos of the carpets of wild easter lilies. I love trying to capture all their colours, from the white of first opening to the dark pink of finished blooms. So beautiful.easter lilies 1

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Posted by: Kate | March 26, 2015

Grateful

As I drove home today I watched a bald eagle swoop low over the road as it circled a stand of fir trees. It’s coming up to nesting season and the eagles are playing. Not a day goes by that I don’t see an eagle, either a juvenile getting ready to start out on its own or an adult lazily surveying the land.

Every time I vow to myself that I will never take this gift for granted. That I will always be grateful that we live in this place, where eagles are an everyday occurrence, sea lions cruise our shores and majestic mountains stand sentinel over our land. I read about nature deprivation, and nature classes for children and lives lived in grey and concrete and massive city blocks.

I am fiercely grateful.

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Posted by: Kate | March 20, 2015

Forty-Two

As we were leaving a meeting the other night someone said to me, “Kate, you look great these days. Your hair is lovely, you look so healthy. Do you feel different? Do you notice it?”

I looked at her and said, “I’m embracing my 40s.”

It’s the truth. This week I turned 42. I feel great, even if I do have an extra five pounds this decade that I am determined to lose. I love colouring my hair and wearing it long again. I feel more confident in who I am and who I want to be.

I think part of that is Bushboy getting older. I was exhausted in my 30s. That kid didn’t sleep and as a spirited child he quite naturally demanded a lot of my attention both physically and mentally. I didn’t have much of myself to spare for, well, myself. But now he is older and those demands have drastically reduced. I’m looking at my life as mine again. And I’m appreciating it.

I don’t wish I could go back and redo anything, as I believe you are who you need to be at any given time. But I am glad I have found this contentment with myself and this confidence. I like who I am, and feel no need to make apologies anymore. I’m walking lighter these days.

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