Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Winter February 2019

Most years Vancouver Island's February is a spring like month and then March gives us a little of winter as well as some real spring here on the Canadian Riviera. This year's February brought snow. So in celebration of this unusual climate behaviour here are a few snowy photos from the seaside.

First there are marinas,
the seaside cottages, and

the estuary seen from theses cottages

or the mountain in the background.

It's all fun and games but I am not creating any snowmen when creatures such as this one come up from the white.

I hope you enjoyed this short excursion. 
Even though the blossoms we saw in January are now nowhere to be found, the clean beauty of snow is inspiring in itself.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Exploration without much color

It looks like after a year and a half of absence I have both the time and some inspiration to start posting to my blogs again. Photography for the fun of it. On this blog I like to post in more or less black and white, while on Mrjom's Blog entries will deal with full color photography. I have no problems with (over)editing nor with lack of editing so both styles will show up on these pages.
For starters here are photos of people exploring aspects of nature close to my home.
Cobble Hill Mountain
Cobble Hill hill is a more appropriate term. It's a bit of a mess with as many trees down (windfalls) as there are standing up. Nevertheless it provides for great walks that can be a work out for the lungs as well, and vistas from the top.

In Cowichan Bay 
Of course the sea is always close by and boating comes with exciting views all the time.

Above the Cowichan River
Cowichan, the name for this area, comes from the word Khowutzun, the warm land, and this river is definitely the warmest one in the area.

Skutz Falls (more like furious rapids)
In the 1950s fish ladders, slowly deteriorating now, were built to help the spawning salmon as they make their way up river to their final resting place.

Sombrio Beach (where over the centuries many ships have found a watery grave)
It has some of the most visually exciting tidal pools on the southern end of Vancouver Island. Waves as well as surfers are another part of the landscape. Here are photos of these tidal pools.

In the avatar Grove
The Avatar Grove has recently been developed with trails. It is located above Port Renfrew and holds some of the biggest and gnarliest trees on the island. A blog entry showing a few more trees may be seen here
      Vancouver Island has a rich variety of people, natural scenery, and architecture. This blog will continue showing some of these vistas.                                                                                                                                               

Monday, April 17, 2017

Over the past 50 years most of my time has been spent living in the Cowichan Valley exploring every square inch of this area but, surprise surprise, there always is something new to find. The other day my love, as we drove down Telegraph Road, pointed to a one grave cemetery on the side of the road. I had never ever noticed this little scene.

Chapman is an old family name in this area and Chapman Road running sort of parallel with Telegraph Rd (as the crow flies about 1 km away from this little cemetery) shows that the family had their homestead here. William Richard was the oldest of five, with the youngest being born two years after he died.
A hardship of homesteading was lack of services. One day the boy, helping his father bringing in the hay, developed severe abdominal pains. The nearest doctor was in Ladysmith more than forty km from where they were, impossible to get to in time, and the boy died. He was buried on the homestead. The grave site deteriorated over time until a boyscout troop came across it and decided to restore the site. They rebuilt the picket fence, cleaned up and painted. This must have happened not that many years ago since it still looks in good repair. In a contemporary sense this whole little thing is totally unimportant except for the fact that it makes a person think about the drama that homesteading families had to deal with. Mrs Chapman lived till 1941. She was right up to her final days intensely involved with the community and with other local pioneer families she shaped the area into today's landscape with many people here still depending on the land and often taking on pioneer-like community supporting responsibilities.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Totem Poles

Duncan celebrates its origins on native territory by including totem poles carved by traditional carvers in its city panorama. Each carving shows the style of the individual artist but much of the subject matter and the way it is pictured comes from way back  history. Several totem poles may be set in groups and single totem poles can be seen in front of buildings or greenery or parking lots. That type of distribution shows on some old photographs of native villages (minus parking lots) as well.  Here are some of them beginning with a group photo.

The downtown area is the main showcase. Stories and short biographies of the carvers are displayed near the poles.

A few more:
Cedar Man Walking Out Of The Log. Carver: Gwe-la-e-gwe-la-gya-les (Richard Hunt)

Here is more of this carver's work:  https://www.coastalpeoples.com/index.php?mpage=artist&aid=248 The rest of the catalog also is well worth perusing. It shows additional incredible artwork. 

A couple of closeups:
 Family Pole (detail)

Owl Spirit (detail)

Most of Duncan's totem poles can be seen on my Flickr site, including the informative images, here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/projoma/albums/72157633265791356/page2/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/projoma/albums/72157633265791356/page3

Monday, July 25, 2016

In this issue I am posting some photographs of buildings in downtown Duncan, the City of Duncan. As a city Duncan is, area wise, the smallest Canadian city. With 5,000 inhabitants and mostly two storey buildings There isn't anything big about this city no matter how one looks at it. However new buildings in the downtown core tend to be higher and so the city grows taller building by building. The older buildings, that make up the approximately six blocks of the downtown area, were built during the first half of the twentieth century into the 1950s and I have selected a few of those for this entry.

For starters there are buildings on the other side of the tracks; the Garage and its neighbor. It is not difficult to realize  these buildings past use but now the Garage is somewhat like a mini mall with a nice coffee shop (coffee beans roasted locally and good food as well), food store, bookstore and on the second floor room for events and entertainment. The building next to it speaks for itself.

Crossing the railroad tracks we run into the station. For now I like to show just the waiting room part, since the 1912 building itself may become the subject of another blog entry.

VIA Rail stopped running its dayliner earlier this century and since then the tracks have not been maintained and are now in total disrepair Hence freight trains stopped using the line as well except for one. I watched this one train last year. It goes as far south as the animal feed mill just outside Duncan at a speed of 10 or 15 clicks per hour. When in Duncan sometimes I can still hear that train whistle blow.

Across the street from the station (Canada Ave) is the bank of Montreal with its main entrance on the suitably named Station Street.

Let us look at a few more Station Street buildings. This one is a few numbers up from the bank. It was a cafe restaurant until turning into a thrift store not all that many years ago. Below it, through the door on the left, was the pool hall, great place, before that basement became Duncan's best second hand bookstore. The bookstore is long gone as well and I have no idea what's happening in that basement nowadays.

Across the road we see this:

The next two images give an idea what most of the downtown stores still look like.

One of the older buildings in town, across from the old Chinatown now government and court buildings, had the Chow brothers convenience store in it for most of the twentieth century. We could buy single cigarettes in there and it was a great place to shop for Marvel comics and the likes as well. For most of that century the parking lot was swept by a small Chinese man named "Happy".

Duncan is called the city of totems. There is a tradition here of brilliant native carving. There is also room in our city for guest carvers. The next image shows one of them. Consider this an intro to a future blog post about Duncan's totems.

This blog post could go on forever. Beside the Station or the totem poles there are churches and their unique styles, new buildings, and more topics for future episodes. Thank you for being here with me and take care until we meet again.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cowichan Bay the sea

At the bottom of the bay are commercial docks accommodating deep sea ships (see the photo below), at the one side is the village Cowichan Bay (photo), and at the other side Mount Tzouhalem. This photo was taken from Mount Tzouhalem.

 The Bay has a large amount of privately owned buoys anchored where the owners moor their boats for free. Some of these boats are occupied by year around live aboards who by necessity live off the grid.

The Bay has a varied wildlife population. The more visible species among them are herons and sea lions. The herons may be seen a stone throw away from their heronry fishing at the low water edge from spring into summer, while the sealions wait for autumn and spawning fish that congregate here  till they can make it up the rivers.

Cowichan Bay, even though a tourist spot nowadays, has very much maintained its historic working place action. The fishing fleet no longer comes in late at night to offload its catch, but the working boats are still here and going out at the proper times or openings for a variety of catches.

The Government Wharf has most of the working boats, but the other eight marinas in the short stretch up from the Government Wharf have a large variety of boats ranging from fancy yachts to small sailing boats and of course more working boats in all sizes.

From Government Wharf  across the breakwater stretches Cowichan Bay.

Here are the connections between land and marinas The hoisting equipment was last used in the mid nineties for unloading trawlers and other fishing vessels.

Nothing much changes in the Bay ever except by utter necessity.

Cowichan Bay is a bay of pilings and even the water's edge structures are built on pilings.
The far end of this line of houses runs into the marinas that show six photos back.
In this short photo essay I have tried to portray some of the watery side of town. A future installment will deal more with the land based part of town.