Posted by: Kate | October 29, 2016

West Coast Abundance

Life cycles are in your face when you live on the west coast, as close as we are to nature snuggled between the mountains and the ocean. And none are so spectacular as the cycle of connection between salmon and the forest.

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In every town and city on this island there is a salmon-bearing river, or two, or ten. Above is the Campbell River, one of the biggest on the island, where 10s of thousands of salmon are born, leave and then return two or four years later to lay eggs. This life cycle has been going on for thousands of years and even with human activity it takes a lot to kill a river to the point where the life cycle stops. Luckily on the island people have recognized the need to protect our rivers and even those that were heavily disturbed by industrial activity are being revitalized.

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Every fall a walk along the river means looking for the salmon. Watching them struggle against current and snags and rapids to get as high up the river as they can to lay their eggs (females) and fertilize the eggs (males), and then die.

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The salmon cycle itself is an awesome sight. But it is only one cycle in a much bigger picture. And it is the bigger picture that makes the west coast a place of such magnificence.

As the salmon come up the rivers, the fish eating predators also come to the rivers. Around here that is mostly black bears and birds. These predators prowl the river banks picking off these fatty fish (especially the females with their nutritious eggs) when they can get to them. Watching a black bear fish in a shallow river is a sight to behold, they often miss but the commitment is impressive! When they do catch them, not only are they nourished for the lean winter months to come (and our island bears don’t hibernate the same way bears in colder climates do, they nap more than deep sleep so need more nourishment) but they leave the carcasses behind on the forest floor (and sometimes on the trails of course).

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These fish remains (I was nice and posted a picture of a whole fish that must have been dropped before it could be eaten, but there were many ripped apart and mostly eaten carcasses strewn along the sides of the trail and into the forest beyond) along with the remains of the rest of the dying salmon (most salmon species die once the eggs are laid and fertilized, making this a one-time return trip) are nature’s fertilizer. Add in the decaying leaves of fall, and as every gardener knows you have the makings of a very fine compost. A compost that, in conjunction with the replenishing fall and winter rains, feeds the stunning, over-whelming, awe-inspiring forests that surround the island rivers.

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Every child who goes to school on Vancouver Island at some time will go on at least one field trip to see the salmon in the fall. From a young age we begin to understand this bigger world on a physical and visual level and I am convinced that it impacts us as we become adults. True west coasters are known for their love of nature and the outdoors, for their appreciation of all our resources, and for their laid back approach to life. They know that it is a cycle, that they are all a part of it, and that the whole is so much bigger than the sum of its parts.

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I am a West Coast girl. It is in my blood, in my soul, in my outlook on life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Posted by: Kate | October 23, 2016

Boring is Good

“What did you do this week-end?”

“Not much.”


Of course, you all know that those are my favourite kind of week-ends, right?

Posted by: Kate | October 10, 2016

Thankful




Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Kate | October 5, 2016

Treasure Hunt Walk

It started out like a normal Sunday walk in the woods, me and Mr. Kate enjoying some fresh October air.


Then Mr. Kate spotted the toadstools.


We spent the rest of the walk seeing how many varieties of fungi we could photograph.


So much fun.

Posted by: Kate | September 28, 2016

The Right Yarn

Sometimes you have a pattern in mind and go looking for the right yarn. And sometimes you are just walking along an aisle in Michaels and the right yarn finds you.


As soon as I saw the jewel tones I knew this was the right yarn for my friend. Plus it was soft and warm. I immediately saw it in the ‘right’ pattern as well – the helix scarf.


I love this clever little short row pattern, it is so adaptable and looks good in a wide variety of yarns. I made this one long enough to wrap twice around the neck as I know that’s how she’ll wear it!


Yarn: Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the Tealberry colourway

Posted by: Kate | September 21, 2016

The Year of the Apple 

I am surprised I am not dreaming of apples, frankly. 

The tree has been more loaded this year than ever and I have been busy processing apples into my freezer.


The tree is not empty yet, and I am giving bags away. Mr. Kate suggested I put little baggies of apples on all the neighbours’ doorknobs.


Baking them into single serving pies and tarts works as well!

Always grateful for garden bounty, but some days I need a bigger family!

Posted by: Kate | September 11, 2016

Wrapped in Love

When babies are born, knitters get busy! A friend’s granddaughter arrived in August, and I couldn’t let her arrive without a blanket.

The design is my own, a log cabin. The yarn is what I had on hand. 

Bassinet size, snuggle soft.

Posted by: Kate | September 4, 2016

Out with a Fizzle….

The last week of August felt decidedly like fall, although today the sun is finally back. The rain and cooler temperatures confused the garden. And there is a cold virus making the rounds that both Mr. Kate and I have caught.

But aside from all that there have been some lovely moments in the past few weeks.


A baby blanket made it off my needles in time to greet its new owner. (My own made up log cabin design.)


There are squash growing in my garden.


And beans. Always lots of beans.


The loaded apple tree actually split a branch! Some judicious pruning to be done this fall. This is definitely the biggest crop yet.

There has been scrapbooking and reading and visiting as well. Some fun back to school clothes shopping. 

Now though I am ready for September and hopefully a warm slide towards fall. Time to be in the garden and kitchen. Time to slow the frantic summer pace of the west coast, where we don’t dare waste a moment of summer, and enjoy these last weeks of summer. I hope wherever you are, you are doing the same.

Posted by: Kate | August 21, 2016

Moments in August


August is my favourite summer month. I love watching the light in the evenings as the sun starts to go down a little earlier.


The garden is happy still and not as fatigued as it gets in the dog days of July. 


The moon rises are beautiful as we go for evening walks in the cooler air.


Yet the days are still hot and bright and made for swimming.


One of the things the west coast boasts about is having four distinct seasons, which makes each one special. August on the island, with the crickets chirping and the clear skies of summer is about as perfect as summer gets.

Posted by: Kate | August 7, 2016

Salt in my Hair

After a week in a mountain valley I spent a weekend with friends camping at the ocean.


I really am that spoiled. We don’t camp at the ocean often, my boys prefer the lakes and rivers for exploring and fly fishing. So this was a definite treat. We explored sandstone beaches and lazed around the campsite.


The highlight for me was the evening swim at high tide, diving in off the rocks. Watching Bushboy and his buddy swim and explore and play. Soaking up the sun at the edge of the sea.

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