Posted by: Kate | February 22, 2017

The Unknown Things

Feeling like a walk down memory lane, so here are some of those random things about me that are these days mostly unknown…. (the photos are random as well, just some I’ve taken in the last week).

1. I lived in England for a year when I was 7. In Warsash, outside Southampton to be exact. My dad is British and was there on sabbatical working at the University of Southampton.


2. I performed the Athlete’s Pledge at the B.C. Summer Games when I was 15. I was competing for the third year in Orienteering. The Games were in Victoria that year, my home town, and the Opening Ceremonies were televised. When I started at a new high school in September of that year, I actually had some kids come up to me and ask if that was me they had seen on TV that summer.

3. My first job, aside from babysitting which I started with when I was 11, was at a small garden shop in downtown Victoria. I worked there from 14 until I moved away after high school. I was the only person under 40 working there, and I loved it. It definitely sparked my love of all things garden-related, and started my devotion to West Coast Seeds (which were called Territorial Seeds at the time). I got the job because one of my Mum’s best friends was the manager. She is still a very important person in all of our lives.


4. I completed my Grade 7 Royal Conservatory of Music in piano as well as my Advanced Rudiments of music theory. I can still play some songs although I don’t get much opportunity. I am a sight reader, and so can generally muddle my way through if I have the music in front of me. I don’t consider myself a natural musician, not like Bushboy, but I did enjoy it and worked hard at it.


5. The summer between Grade 11 and Grade 12, Mr. Kate and I lived together in Bamfield, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I was working as a nanny for family friends and he was working at the local fishermen’s cafe. It was one of the best times of our lives.

Tell me some random thing about yourself, if you feel so moved…

Posted by: Kate | February 13, 2017

After the Snow…

We ended up with about 3ft of snow, a foot of that falling this Thursday. The melt has now begun of course.

But in the meantime, between snow days at home and dealing with rearranged schedules and the parking of cars so that we could still get out when needed, there was some fun to be had and beauty to be witnessed.

This week-end was the annual scrapbooking retreat my girlfriend and I attend. We have been to 8 of these events, and unfortunately this was the last year for it. We will definitely miss both the event itself and the opportunity to get away and be crafty together while someone else cooked all the food!


It felt great to be paper crafting!

Today is Family Day here in BC, and the sun was shining so we got outside. While many of the local hikes are hard to get to if you don’t have a 4×4 to get into the parking areas, we found we could get to the Quinsam River by parking up at the fish hatchery, which had thoughtfully been plowed and had all the walkways cleared. Obviously others had the same idea, as the path along the river, although definitely not cleared, was well traveled.





We even spotted a fellow river watcher…




As you can tell, I’ve been both enjoying my camera and my Corel photo editing!

The whole time we were out I kept hearing Paul Simon’s Boy in the Bubble in my head: “These are the days of miracles and wonder, this is the long-distance call, oh yeah…”

And at the end of the walk I asked Mr.Kate to take a photo of me.


We are all surrounded by wonder, my friends. Enjoy it.



Posted by: Kate | February 4, 2017

It Just Keeps Falling

We are having a repeat of the snow storm from December. 24 hours of snow and it shows no sign of stopping!


I walked in it this morning, but it’s not easy. My boots are boys’ boots that I bought 13 years ago, and they are loose on my foot so my socks fall off while I’m walking. Plus they are only low calf height, and the snow out there is deep! But it was fun to get out and see the world in white.



Bushboy even got a driving lesson in it, as our car is excellent in snow. He did great!

The knitting bug is still biting. I am working on using up my scraps and tackling some projects/patterns I’ve had in mind for some time. To that end I’ve made two hats, one for my little man E and the other for future giving.

I’ve also started a vest for me with leftover skeins of Berroco Vintage, and a freeform scarf, loosely based on the Flowing River pattern. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m feeling very project focused the last couple of months, having rearranged both the spare room and our bedroom as well as getting my scrapbooking organized and knitting more. Feels good! It may be a way to remind myself in all the political turmoil in the world that in my little corner life is in my control, and creating is always a way to soothe the soul.

Posted by: Kate | January 29, 2017

Blowing Out the Cobwebs

When the wind is blowing on a grey January day, there is no better place to be than the beach.

It was cold down there, but exhilarating. I find the wind energizing and instead of cursing it I embrace it.

I love our Harbour city with float planes and boats such an integral part of its daily life. They make up the spirit of this place as much as the islands and rugged coastline that they are used to access do.

At my feet are treasures and beauty. As usual I can’t resist searching for beach glass as I walk.

The trees are used to this wind, and I think I want their strength, that ability to bend and not break.

25 minutes and I have to leave, chilled to the bone but content and recharged.

Posted by: Kate | January 21, 2017

Holiday Knitting

I did more knitting this year than last year for the holidays. Not sure why, just felt more in the groove this year and knew what I wanted to make for people.

My mum of course got socks, what she always asks for. Two pairs made it off my needles, the last pair being finished on Christmas Eve.



Some scarfs for my co-workers. One was a Green Bay Packers team scarf, the other a pink Baktus.



A pair of fingerless gloves for my boss, who is a fisherman and loves these. (Apparently I did not take a picture of the finished pair.)


And my favourite, a pair of socks for a very appreciative 4 year old.


I’m still feeling the knitting vibe, having finished Bushboy’s blanket and am now finishing up the second sock of a pair I started for me ages ago (maybe even in 2015?). Having fun planning ahead and feeling crafty these days!

Posted by: Kate | January 13, 2017

Oh the Math!


The Curve of Pursuit blanket is done – almost. The pattern itself is complete, however because this is for a young man who is 5’10” and potentially still growing, it needs to be a bit longer. I am adding stripes equal to the width of the border at each end (orange, brown, oatmeal, brown). Then it will be done. Well, then and when I’ve sewn in the rest of the ends.


Now let’s talk about the awesomeness that is Woolly Thoughts patterns and their mathness (yup, totally made that word up). According to the designers “Curve of Pursuit is based on the curves that are formed if four dogs set off to chase each other from the corners of a field. The path created by each dog is an equi-angular spiral”. I cannot tell you how this level of math and knitting combining forces makes my heart happy.

Oh, and both Bushboy and Panda approve.



Posted by: Kate | January 6, 2017

Zoom Away

I treated myself to a zoom lens for my Canon Rebel after Christmas. Picked it up for half price at the London Drugs Boxing Day sales. I’ve been wanting a zoom lens for a while, so was thrilled to get it. Mr. Kate and I took it along on our traditional New Year’s Day walk and even though it was very cold in the winter wind, I had lots of fun trying it out.



The above is with the zoom lens and below is with my regular lens.


The series below shows how much detail I can pick up:


Looking forward to many more opportunities to play with the new lens!

Posted by: Kate | January 1, 2017

Word for 2017

People often think I am younger than I am. Some of that is good genetics, some of it is hair dye. But some of it is that I have a certain outlook on life.


I have been called innocent, conservative, “cute” and too nice. In reality I am none of those things (ok maybe cute sometimes, although as a short woman that word grates; and how can someone be too nice – it always seems like a not very positive thing when people say it though). I am reserved unless I know you well, and an introvert, but I think what those people see is that I have not lost my sense of wonder.


It is a conscious choice to be a romantic in this world. I’m a practical woman, yet I have always had a romantic, sentimental side. How can I not be when I am married to the man I have loved since I was 16? My parents thought, and still think, it odd, as they are not romantics. And many people see it as naive. But I prefer to think of it as not allowing myself to become jaded and cynical, states that are all too easy for someone of intelligence in this day and age.


So this year, I choose WONDER as my word. More than ever this year I will look for the amazing wonder that surrounds me. And considering where I live, I know it surrounds me daily. Many people around the world want to come to where I live because it is so filled with natural wonder.


I don’t want to apologize for finding wonder and beauty in small things, for being delighted with a well-turned sock heel (seriously – wondrous!) or for appreciating a well-written phrase. I will look for the good and the strong and the peace around me. I will fill my life with the wonder I see all around and I will not hesitate to share.



So my friends – what is your word for 2017?


Posted by: Kate | December 7, 2016

And so it Goes….

Like so many who started in this blogging world when I did (8 years ago plus now) I am struggling with whether this space has outlived itself. Does the blog still provide what I need or want from it? I now share my photos on Instagram (Coastalkate) and I am on Facebook with my close friends.


I still have stories to tell. If my mind could just write whenever it started composing, I would have many posts here. But I work on a computer all day, and the effort to sit down and write after work hours seems to elude me these days (this is the same issue with some letters that are far overdue, by the way).


I am not ready quite yet to bid the blog good-bye. I am going to take a break until the New Year. In that time I will think about what this blog means to me and what purpose the space may still serve.


In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. May you find time for friends, family and yourself in this busy month.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.



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.

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