Archive for June, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Quite an exciting flying day for me yesterday.   Sky was interestingly cloudy.  Weather interestingly enough bumpy.  Learning to control the plane through “bumpy” weather .. over the Cowichan Valley.

Did my pre-flight walkaround .. feeling confident about that aspect.  Loving every inch of the plane, trusting the beautiful wings to take me up into another dimension, high above the ground.  Well, up to 3,500 feet, anyway or maybe a little more.  Baby steps.

We noticed a lone eagle sitting on the other side of the tarmac .. my instructor noted that she’s never seen one at this particular location.   She would certainly know, as she flies every day … so we wondered why the eagle was there at this time.  The eagle stood up and walked around a bit .. settling down again.   A Westjet taxied in and the bird swooped here and there and then settled down again.   Comforting sight.

The plane was a former float plane, thus the engine was larger than the other 172’s that I’ve been practising in.  The take off was an experience of more power, more swerve to the left (more  right pedal was needed to guide the plane straight).  Normally, I’m learning, the plane tends to go to the left and a light right pedal guides the wings straighter.   I relied on the experience of my instructor to take us up .. up .. and away!

I experienced the tug and pull of winds from the valley floor, local hills – that pulled the wings in directions off course … and learned to “crab” the plane back towards my original destination.  The winds are physically real .. and it’s exciting to feel this, actually.   The skies are not vast, empty voids .. they are alive with real, tangible forces of energy.  And it’s in this understanding of these forces that I’ll be learning how to fly.

I find myself more tuned in to stories of flight and feel a keener interest in programs like the “Ice Pilot”.   The portals to better comprehension and appreciation of the  language of flying, weather and terminology is opening to me and I feel such joy and anticipation.

Our one hour training flight is soon over, and it’s back to the ground.  I look up at the sky throughout my day and remember my flight and feel such happiness.  Transportation to another dimension.

And so I feel less bothered by things that happen in my daily life.  Traffic situations don’t bother me as much.    Things just don’t have the energy to irk me as they used to do.   My attention is turning to the magic of flight.   To learn the rules of this new world.

Now, my mind is concentrating on the feel of the plane, the understanding of the steps involved in preparing for flight.  The sensation of flight .. the tug of the winds, the intuitive feel of maintaining cruise altitude, the body of the plane becomes my body as I tense for turns, for straight flying, to “know” when to do things, “why” to do things, to “see” how to interpret the signals that the instruments are telling me.

My new life is a very interesting and adventurous one and I welcome this with such open arms!!!  Like the Calvin & Hobbs last cartoon panel, they are swooshing down a snowy hill on a toboggan shouting ” It’s a magical world ..ole buddy .. let’s go exploring” (or words to that effect) !!!

So I purchased some take-away delicious won-ton soup from Dakota Cafe and began my drive back to town .. and decided to stop in at the Swan Lake Sanctuary .. it’s been a long time since I’d last visited.

Quite a change.   Ducklings nearly grown.  Don’t see any Canada Geese.  Walked along the lush grassy paths .. breathing in the rich oxygenated air .. luxuriating in the feeling of peace and quite as I made my way towards the nesting areas.

Feeling a little nostalgic as I made my way to nesting areas …. seeing, in my mind’s eye, the proud families of goslings and ducklings.  The parents guarding their precious little ones … .guiding them towards living in this world.

Now the muddy shores are empty .. the waters have receded.    Nature is proceeding along in its normal way.

I’m so thankful that I was able to view part of this natural world as it unfolded, during the spring.

A splash of bright yellow caught my eye and I saw a lovely songbird, perching on some marsh grasses, pecking away at the seeds.  My camera wasn’t able to take a clear photo .. but I remember now how lovely that scene was.  It cheered me up a lot … I’d heard these birds singing and had given up seeing one .. so now I was happy.   I’ll look in my bird books later on, for the exact type of bird that I saw.

After an hour, time to get going .. and so I shop for some veggies and make my way home.

Finally .. outfitted in my gardening clothes, I go to the backyard and attacked the long long grass that has been wafting in the breeze!    Nice .. now I can see the yard better and also see the many plants that wait patiently for me to plant them.

Well … I have another flying lesson in a few hours  .. so I’ll be back here, working away on another temporary raised bed.   Filling colourful pottery pots with soil, filling them with lettuce.

sigh … on with this day!

Read Full Post »

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lovely rain pouring down .. no need to rush out and water any garden today!   And I see that the level of thistle seed is rapidly diminishing.  Turns out that the sparrows et al are easily able to peck out the seeds from the tiny feeding holes.  What a great little feeder this is ..lucky to have seen this at the last garage sale we went to.  You just never know what treasures will be found.

There was a time when I lived for garage sales. Up with the dawn.  Lots of small bills and coin.  Route mapped out and then I would start my search.  One of my first great “finds” was a papier-mache thing .. extremely ugly, and I never did figure out what it was.  It was just .50 and I was in my beginning days of hunting down garage sale treasures.

I went the gamut of picking up things to “fix up” and “oh, what a deal” .. buying things I didn’t need and and didn’t get fixed up.

Eventually, I reached a point where I would only purchase plants, books and various household items.

I then reached a stage where it was time to get rid of my wonderful trove.  So, somehow .. I chose several weekends where the weather turned out to be like today.  Overcast and rainy.  Only the true die-hard garage sale people turned out.

And so, with many items still remaining, I packed everything up, called a store to come on down and pick up everything.  Including a non-powered lawn mower and lawn edger.    Which I sometimes think about and then realize that these items are always easy to be found.  I’ll find another one.

Once everything was picked up and the car port was empty .. I felt incredibly energized and vowed to not go out of my way to any more garage sales.  I was garage sale’d out!

So now, when I pass by signs that advertise magnificent sales . . I just sail on by.  My period of wonderful bargains is finished.

Except, of course, once in a while.  I still  have the bug .. and .. you just never know what surprises will be found!

On with this most wonderful day . .and looking forward to another flying lesson.  Up up and away!  Climbing and descending!  Climbing:  APT …  power, attitude,  trim!  Descending:  PAT … power, attitude, trim and carb heat.

Plus a million other things to do .. look out for other aircraft, contact with tower, weather reports, adjust equipment, check instruments.   Gulp.

Luckily my instructor was doing all this and I just had to concentrate on maintaining attitude.

How do people do this all at once … no wonder I’m sleeping well at night.  worn out!


Read Full Post »

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some days just seem to run faster than others.  Planning my day this morning, I decided to forgo my planned visit to the nature sanctuary and do some serious work in the yard.

Still trimming away the spent branches beneath the vibrant green growth of our first Christmas Tree.  Trimmed, clipped and sawed away for a few hours and made some progress.  Still pleased at seeing unexpected growth on the bare branches.

Didn’t think I’d made much progress till I finally stopped, stepped back and surveyed my handiwork.  Yes.  Much more light entering the main body of the tree.  The addition of soil is making a difference .. with lots of pinecones and bits of twigs .. this will soon be a happy tree.

Time to zip off for another flying lesson.  We’re flying a bit higher, practising the steps required to climb and descend .. power, attitude, trim.  Carb heat when descending.

I enjoy this step of flying .. and learning when to do what considering the weather.

Sometimes my mind feels like one of those sparkly filled water globes.  Learning how to fly, the sparkles are dispersed into the atmosphere and little by little one or two of them stick.  That’s how the comprehension of being in the altered state of flying feels to me right now.

Some things are beginning to feel familiar.  I’m more confident with my pre-flight walk arounds, and that is very positive.

All too soon, it seems, the lesson is over and time to finish the writing details (which is ongoing learning!)

I wandered out to the garden at Dakota Cafe and am happy to see that everything is growing well.   The Foxglove is in its second year and is flowering.  Not sure if it will continue on till next year or not.

The sunflowers are doing well .. as are the rest of the plants!

Time to head home and try to plant a few more things in the garden … there might be rain tomorrow!


Read Full Post »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

June 27, 2011

My oh my how the time does fly.   Just a few months ago I was filling my days with long nature walks, observing the wild birds at the local Sanctuary.  Learning about them, meeting birdwatchers and wondering how I was going to organize my “gardening” life .. being that the weather wasn’t conducive to digging outside.

And now, how the days have changed.  I’m busy gardening nearly every day.  Spending time learning how to fly an airplane .. My head aches with the billion and one facts that are needed to know.

Luckily, I am blessed with the best Instructor!  She is just amazing and conveys the information to me in a manner that is very kind and patient.

Today we flew to 4,500 feet!  I’ve been that high and higher, when dh is flying the plane.  However, I was in the left seat and this sure felt different.  At first, looking down at the ground, I thought .. hmmm. .. we are really high in the sky.   A thought went through my mind, like a momentary questioning .. am I afraid?

As quickly as the thought started to appear .. it was just as quickly answered by a “nope”  this feels absolutely wonderful!  And besides, I’m not alone .. I have the best instructor right beside me .. guiding me and helping me learn how to operate this plane!

I feel my long-lost confidence returning to me via these flying lessons.  It’s like a “aha . .yes, that is how I truly feel .. and this is how I used to feel, a long, long time ago!”  Only now .. more so!  🙂

Each time we fly, I feel a slight glimmer of familiarity with the procedure.   If I were to measure this glimmer, it would be the size of 1/10 the thickness of a hair.

Gradually, these  glimmers will start to accumulate .. and that will be fun.  Because, I love learning.  And, with flying .. there is absolutely no end to the learning.

And that is also true with gardening!  I’m excited about planting my vegetables in the companion gardening method, as read recently in my newly acquired 1999 edition of Bob Flowerdew’s gardening book.

This morning, I was busy pulling weeds when I heard the angry nasal sounds of a crow, very close by.  It seemed to go on for a long time, so I finally looked up.  And saw what appeared to be two crows in the sky .. one was being chased.  However, when this bird swiftly changed direction and flew to the protection of a nearby tree, I saw that the back and wings were brown .. so, this was a hawk.   Which must have been bothering the crows’ nest!  Hmmmm.

Earlier on, I’d noticed a young robin in a greenhouse.  He kept trying to pass through the clear walls, not realizing that the glass was stopping him  and he could have easily escaped via the open door.   Soon, help arrived as someone walked to the back of the greenhouse to see if the robin would react by flying away .. to freedom!  It worked.  Instinct told him to move away and thus he escaped.  To a high branch of a tree close by.  Where he rested on a branch, and, beak open, took quick short breaths .. to calm himself down.   And then he flew away.   A lesson learned.

I’ll go outside shortly and will plant the corn, with a few squash plants nearby.  And when I find the pea & bean seeds, I’ll plant them close by.


Well, soon time to go for the last Navigation class tonight.   Clear as mud right now .. but I’ll work with my dh on the ongoing details.


Ok .. class finished, time to start the homeward trip.  Entered the highway, saw something ahead on the road .. a car in the left lane was starting to slow down.  Then I saw some ground activity.  Closer to the scene, slowing down, I was able to identify a Mother Canada Goose accompanying one of her young, not able to fly yet,  to the shoulder of the road.

Her wings were set at protective altitude, and her steps were quick. The young gosling followed her lead and accompanied her to the safety of the side of the highway.

I slowed down and then parked on the side of the highway, concerned about the safety of Momma and her baby.   There were only a few cars passing by.  I noted that the Geese were motionless at the side of the highway.  Finally, I realized that, even if I were able to approach the Geese (for my idea of their safety) .. being wild birds, they would just ignore me and my presence would just rile them.  I started up my car, blended into the highway. 

Hoped and prayed that the Geese were able to safely return to their family.


Read Full Post »

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Whoooeeee .. summer is here!  Spent a few minutes this morning watching a big jolly robin sitting on a branch of a heavily laden cherry tree.  He remained motionless for a long time .. posing!

Getting ready to go outside and play in the yard . .and thinking about the past few days.  Driving around the city, visiting store after store, searching for surprises for my dh’s birthday.

Choosing the decadent chocolate cake with the colourful airplane drawing on top.   Taking this cake to friends, who were going to bring this to the restaurant.  Thinking that I’ve been so carefully secretive, with all the planning .. that my dh will be totally surprised.

The restaurant surprise was removed when cheerful personnel called, twice, to remind me of the table for 10 at the restaurant.   When the first message was played, I quickly picked up the phone and deleted the message, so dh at least didn’t know the location.

However, when the second message came through, he picked up the phone and talked to the caller.  Sigh.  Oh, well, at least he didn’t know about “the cake”.

So we walked to the restaurant, a lovely little 45 minute stroll.   Went to the bar, thinking that everyone else would enter by the restaurant, another entrance – thus maintaining the surprise.

We were no sooner sipping a cool Pipers than our cake-bearing friends entered, dh happened to turn his head in time to see the cake . .I exchanged glances with our friends .. the secret was no more.

I decided to just accept that the evening would be a fun evening, no more surprises.  So we all had a good meal, good conversation and relaxed!

Today … back to normal, no rushing around, no secrets .. just a quiet  Sunday morning .. time to work on our outside projects and enjoy the sun.


So I go to the backyard, and try to decide where to start … and end up working away with the mulch .. filling in the temporary raised bed and plant a few more tomatoes.

Then .. plan to create another temporary raised bed for planting more veggies and corn.  Some weeding is done.   And of course, I just have to stop my digging to admire the bold little robin who is chirping away “look at me, look at me” before he digs away for some earthworms!  Cheeky little guy.

Then the Anna flies in to feed at the h/bird feeder … and I’m glad that I scrubbed out this feeder and replenished the contents.

And I know now .. why the Anna’s ignored the yellow globe h/bird feeder!  I’d taken this feeder into the house, was rinsing out the glass interior and noticed, when cleaning out the copper tubing, that the interior of the tubing was all black.   Oh, for h ——‘s sake .. who would ever use copper tubing for a h/bird feeder!!!!!the tubing has to be clear, so that it can be cleaned.  This was upsetting to me.  Poor little guys.   So now I’ll ensure that the clear feeder, with the clear tubing .. will be fresh and clean!

I looked up at the song bird feeder, filled to the top with tiny thistle seeds.   The sparrows were trying, in vain, to eat some of these seeds, but the feeder holes were too small for their beaks.  Thus far, I’ve not seen any song birds there (yet).

Oops .. time to get ready and depart for the “Friends of the Library” book sale.  I set off, thinking the sale starts at 1 pm … turns out it will be 1:30 .. so I purchase my $5 entry ticket and stand in line.  End up talking with others in line and the time passes quickly and soon the doors open.

I get caught up on the frenzy of selecting books.   Many authors are unknown to me.  The room is hot and crowded and I’m soon working up a sweat, and trying to calmly select books.  Soon I have two full bags, which I cart to my car.  Returning in minutes to fill up 3 more bags.

And, although I swore that I had enough gardening books . .I discovered a Canadian Readers Digest guide to planting. a “Bob Flowerdew” from 1999 .. oh, how happy I am.   I’ve read a number of pages from that book this afternoon .. lots of garden wisdom.   Oh, yes, and about 10 more gardening books.  Sigh. Never, say, Never!

And four bags of fiction.

On this hot and sunny afternoon, dh & I decide to go flying and so we soon are driving on the Pat Bay, en route to the Flying Club.

Dh does the walk-around, gets the plane ready to soar into the sky and soon we are way up there.  And we go through discussions of 20 degree turns, maintaining attitude, flaps, rudders, nose up, nose down, trimming.   Climbing.

I find that the tiniest of little bits of knowledge are indeed, sticking to my brain.  Really didn’t think this would happen.

I can only compare learning how to fly as in learning the most obscure of languages.   It exists, and many people seem to know how to speak it .. and eventually, the bits do fall into place.

And I know that flying is a lifetime of learning .. it never ever stops and it is never ever fully known.  Thus the mystery and the love.  The lure, the attraction.




Read Full Post »

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sort of an overcast day today .. my dh’s birthday!  I’ve planned some surprises .. and look forward to the unfolding of this day.

We drive out to Dakota Cafe and wait there for some friends to arrive.  I called one and was reminded that I was going to pick him up, en route.  Oopsie .. I apologize.   Finally, four of us are breakfasting, drinking tea and talking, talking, talking .. about, what else  …. flying!

Looking out the restaurant windows, I see the little bumblebees flitting about the sage flowers. … their little legs weighted down with pollen.  Industrious creatures they are and very focused on their task.

I see that the Sweet Woodruff plants are flourishing well and within a year they will form an extensive ground cover.  Two upright Rosemary plants are growing very well and I wonder if they will flower this year or next?   When they do begin to flower, the hummingbirds will feast on them!  The sages are all doing very well, the green, the bronze .. and the variegated.

I’d like to increase the variety of sages to show more of a variety.   There are quite a number of them and I look forward to perusing some of my garden books to find out this information.

The Lavatera plants are just little piggies .. they are sprouting up everywhere.  I’m trying to encourage a little hedge of these pink flowering plants along the back of the raised garden bed, so that they are beneath the windows of the restaurant.  But, some of them just insist on growing at the front and the middle .. overshadowing some of the thymes .. I’d pull them out, but they are so close to flowering, I want the bees to partake of the nectar.

The Hollyhock (part of the packages of wildflower seed that I’d planted last year) is gigantic and must be at least five feet tall and rapidly spreading out branches.  It’s location is not one I would have chosen, at the front of the flower bed and crowding out some other plants.   However, it’s a strikingly beautiful plant, so I will just let it go for the season.  In the fall, I’ll collect the seeds and prepare some plants for next summer .. along the side of the restaurant, and .. in pots!

The potted plants are doing well.  Three sunflowers, started out at the same height and now the middle one is twice the height of its neighbours!   The variegated grasses are doing well.  And the hardy herbs are also loving the heat and are growing well.

There are two little sage plants in the garden area …that started as seedlings and began flowering when they were just barely two inches high .. interesting.

Back home and dh has opened his birthday presents and is pleased with them all.  Now I can tell him all the funny things that happened while I was shopping for them.   The stories of why I went here and there and all the rest inbetween.

The reclining gravity chair with the foot rest is a big hit.   I had been shopping at a few stores for this one.   I’d originally purchased one downtown, and was just going to my car so I could drive over to the store and load it into my car, when I met up with friends.   Told them of my purchase and my friend’s dh told me that the recliner wouldn’t be long enough for my dh .. the chair is not long enough.   We went over to a display and he lay down on the chair, and sure enough, his feet were extending way over the end.  Darn.  I went back to the store and received a refund.

I had been so excited about this chair and now it looked as if it wouldn’t be a go!

Went to another store, discussed this with some sales personnel.   Too bad, the chair would be perfect for those of us a little shorter.  Funny, thinking about the length of the chair for a tall person is something that one would not consider.

Sigh.  Then I saw a tall sales person walk by .. I asked if he would help me out with the gravity chair .. and he promptly opened one box, set it up .. and this style, too, was not long enough.

Darn.  Then he pointed out the gravity lounge chair with a foot rest.  Gadzooks!  Perfect!!  What a sweetheart!   My excitement returns, and I lug the box out to my car, and return home.  Spend time wrapping everything and then hidden away for this morning.

Then, last night, looking through store flyers, I see a canopied version of the lounge chair, this one is a fair bit cheaper  and I thought, darn,  should I have gone for that .. and thinking of the logistics of returning the original one and then going for this other one .. would be tiresome.   And, I wonder if the quality might be diminished in other areas to compensate for the price.

Today,  I suggest returning the birthday lounge and getting the canopied type .. but he refuses.   What I’ve chosen is what he wants.    That makes me happy.    And I can relax and stop comparing the two types.

Whew!  Well, now I’ll go out and pick up the surprise birthday cake that I ordered yesterday!   The one with the plane design top.  The most chocolate, chocolatey cake ever .. photo to follow!!




Read Full Post »

Friday, June 24, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Yesterday a friend and I walked along the pathways atop Dallas Road.  Beautiful sunny morning and it was exciting to see this part of the beach area .. as I normally keep to the quieter end by the point.

Lovely to see the wild grasses allowed to flourish.  And fun to see the doggy area and watch the playful antics of the well-behaved dogs.  Saw a cruise ship tied up and buses carrying visitors to the city off on a sightseeing trip.

Went for a cup of tea at the little restaurant by the dive center.  Some cheeky little sparrows zoomed in on some cornmeal breadcrumbs .. cute at first and then they became a little annoying.

Returned along the walkway …noticed the wind was really picking up and there were little whitecaps out on the water.

Spent the rest of the day driving around town, looking for some interesting gifts for my dh’s birthday …  and will find out tomorrow if I was successful in surprising him.

Finally, out of the traffic and into the quiet of my garden!   My little (ongoing) paradise!)

I’d purchased a wonderful bird feeder at a recent garage sale .. the tall kind, that holds thistle seeds for songbirds.   I filled up the feeder and hung this up in the yard .. looking forward to seeing these little birds!

Looking forward to playing outside again . .to continue planting veggies and flowers and then on and on and joyfully on.

Well .. as it turned out .. I didn’t spend a lot of time playing outside today.  Time just seemed to disappear .. yesterday and today.  Spent a lot of time driving here and there, I did have a great time .. and I didn’t “have to” be “anywhere” for a specific timeframe, so the days were totally mine.

One of my shopping places, mid-morning, yesterday was Sears (Shelbourne St. store) . . and I noticed how very kind the Sales Ladies were, in the Ladies section of the store.   The two Clerks who were on duty when I was there were extremely patient and helpful to the clientelle there (including me!!).

Many of the customers at this time of the day were advanced in years and were healthy and active … and there was a lovely mood of plain old-fashioned courtesy.  I quite enjoyed seeing that.  It reminded me to slow down  .. it isn’t always necessary to speed through life.

In this busy “rush rush” world of today, it is good to see an example of normal, everyday shopping.  I think that that is why I’m not comfortable in the big box stores.  There aren’t enough “savings” for me to be had in those large, impersonal places.

And I’m not a fan of the Boutique stores either .. expensive and niche items aren’t for me.  Then again, I’m not rich, so maybe that explains why I don’t go there!  🙂

But, turn me loose in a gardening centre, and, well, that’s an entirely different story.

Today was a good example.   I had purchased some plants last year (quite a few, actually) at a terrific sale at Cannor Nursery last fall.  (Oh, how I love that garden centre!)  Of the 30 or so plants that I’d purchased at the sale, a few didn’t do well.  So today was the day to return them.

And I learned that vines, once planted, do not take kindly to being dug up and moved.   As was the case for one plant that I returned.  It had been growing very well and then I decided to move it and it didn’t like that.  So I’m paying attention to the location of vines and will keep them in the location when planted.

So, armed with my Christmas gift card (from my dh) and the credit for the plants returned, I set out to look for some unusual plants for my garden.  I think that I must have spent well over an hour there.  Wasn’t wearing a watch and just mellowed out into plant time.  Which is  .. well .. endless.

Wouldn’t that make a good idea for a clock?  The face would show “Garden Time” .. and no numbers, ha ha ha!  Just pictures of plants.  Noon would be a fern, one o’clock would be a fuchsia .. and so on.

So I gathered my treasures, made my way to the till and waited my turn to be served.   While waiting, I happened to notice that a small group of people waiting behind me were speaking in lovely Italian.  This language is beautiful and I felt that I was listening to  some gentle, lilting music.   One couple was from Italy and their host was translating my conversation to them.  Soon we were “talking” about plants, ducks etc.  What a fun few minutes that was!

Then, my turn to the till.  I’d thought that my gift card was of a higher value than it was, but it turns out that it was a small amount, and I was actually glad that this was so (otherwise,  I wouldn’t have chosen so many plants).  I ended up paying more than expected.  But, hey, they are plants, right?

As I loaded up my car with the plants, the flowering Pyracantha etc., I felt very happy at the thought of placing them around the yard.

Then, it was away to a number of shops before, finally, arriving at home.  Then .. the fun (!) of unloading the car, moving things inside, outside and all around the house!

Fatigued by my shopping, I thought, well … now is a good time to sit outside and enjoy a few minutes of the hot sun!  So, gathered one of my ongoing books, a little glass of wine, I settled myself outside.

And then the rains came.  I did like the sound of the pelting rain and the earthy smell of the watered garden.  Oops .. I  hurriedly went outside to turn off the sprinkler.  Now, anyway, all of the plants will be watered.


Inside, pot of tea, rested for a few minutes.  Then into the whirling world of preparation for my dh’s birthday tomorrow!

And housework .. and laundry .. and on and on …..  still, I’m grateful that I am able to be healthy and strong and deal with these everyday things.    Shifting the energy from “hurrying” and “have to” … to thankfulness.

And so, it’s been a busy day.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: