Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Heat wave in Victoria

May was the driest month on record, and so was June. We've also been breaking heat records here. Usually if we get hot weather it lasts three or four days and then it cools off and rains. But not this year.

The tomato plants are growing like crazy and I'm watering some pots twice a day. Berries are ripening three and four weeks ahead of time.  It feels more like California than B.C.

It's alarming given the global context--but so far we're liking it. We've been eating out on the porch almost every day and we've been able to invite people over knowing that it won't be cold or rainy.

But the heat is starting to get to us. Sleeping is difficult even with a fan going.  Air conditioners aren't really something we've had much need for up to now.

 We've been getting out in the country and going to the lake and the beach.

It's been a little hot for Geordie but we've managed to get him out to the lake for a swim a few times. We walk him in the morning and the evening when it's cooler and the rest of the time he hangs out beside the fan.

We spend time in the back yard, sitting in the sun early in the day and finding shade later on. When it gets really hot we stick our feet in the fountain.

Across the street the six families in the apartment don't fare so well. Their only outdoor space is this little front porch and that's where the kids (and adults) congregate. Either there or in the park when it's not occupied by homeless people.

To cool off today and celebrate Canada Day we enjoyed icy gin and tonics made by Sue. The forecast is for yet more heat and we're trying everything we can to say cool.

I'll leave you with a photo taken last night from the top of a friend's high rise apartment where we went for dinner.  This is a sunset view of Victoria's Parliament Buildings all lighted up. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

British Columbia's north coast

This image was taken by photography David duChemin on a recent trip up the coast to the Khutzeymateen wilderness area and grizzly bear sanctuary, just north of Prince Rupert and Kitimat where Enbridge wants to end their bitumen pipeline.

It reminds me of my stepson Ben's painting done a few years ago on a trip up the same coast. You can see a couple of them in this photo from his show that I wrote about here.

This is such a beautiful and remote area and I don't need to tell you what it would look like covered in oil from a spill.

We went to a talk last week by Jeff Rubin, a Canadian economist and author who talks about the end of cheap oil, which is good news for British Columbia's coast. Right now oil stocks in the tar sands are down 80% in value and the cost of extraction there is prohibitive. Jeff's recent book is called The Carbon Bubble and can tell you more. We certainly live in volatile times.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pull together to protect our coast

I'm wearing my environmental hat today. It's been over a year since the Harper government conditionally approved the Enbridge Pipeline, and protests are ramping up again. Enbridge is not backing down and there are signs that the Provincial Government is pushing ahead with what they call "state of the art cleanup." But cleanup isn't the answer. The answer is to keep the tarsands in the ground.

It's my feeling that the thing most likely to stop the pipeline is the legal challenges by the First Nations groups. On Saturday there's a gathering here in our community where we can stand with the First Nations to protect our coast. A community social and fundraiser is happening at the Prairie Inn in Saanichton from 4:00 to 6:00. Funds raised will help with legal funds to challenge the Norther Gateway Pipeline. Come out and meet like-minded people. Tax receipts are available and a generous sponsor will be matching donations.

Here's a link to the Pull Together website. You can donate there as well.


The photo above is from the top of Brown Ridge at Saturna Island.  This is part of the coast that we must protect from oil spills.

The Prairie Inn is at 7806 East Saanich Road. See you there!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Japanese Snowbell

The Japanese Snowbell tree that we planted a few years ago almost died the summer before we moved in. Our tenants were engrossed with their new baby and forgot to water it for months. Last year it grew a bit but didn't flower. But this year it has burst into bloom.

On the left is Sue looking at the buds. There are literally hundreds of them, and they have a heavenly fragrance.  What a miraculous recovery!

Here's another little miracle--the goslings paddling around in the lake attended by their proud and protective parents.  Spring is so wonderful.  Hope you're enjoying it wherever you are.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Thinking about the Federal Election

It hasn't been called yet--but electioneering is in full swing here on the west coast of Canada. Last time around we lived in a different part of town so we got to vote for Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party. Now that we've moved into town things are different. Plus, after four more years of Herr Harper and his evil cronies it's become crystal clear that things must change. Here's a photo from a fairly recent rally here in Victoria for Tom Mulcair. I would like to see him as our next Prime Minister.

Although I agree with much of the Green party's values I won't be voting for them. At least not in this election.  With the Conservatives on the right and three progressive parties on the left, we have to vote strategically so that the left votes wont be split three-ways.  That's exactly what happened in the last election--with tragic results. Harper won a majority with only 39 per cent of the vote.

So, although I'd like to vote green, this time I'll be voting for the NDP because that's the candidate that has the most chance of winning in my riding.  This time around there are strong Green candidates in most Vancouver Island ridings--and my fear is that they will take votes away from the NDP candidate and allow a conservative to come right up the middle.  Canada's "first-past-the-post" electoral system allows this to happen. And this has to change.

The NDP and the Greens have promised to change this system to one of proportional representation--so such a travesty will never happen again. But meanwhile, if you live in Canada ... and if you want to defeat Harper... the thing to do is to determine which candidate in your riding has the best chance of winning and vote for that candidate.

There are a few websites that can help you make that determination. Check out this one:  It explains it a lot better than I can.

Here in Victoria, I am supporting the NDP candidate. He won last time around and has done a good job. And in fact he's as green as the Green candidate in this riding. The NDP have have a good environmental policy and they care about families and services -- as well as business.  So this is not a wasted vote.

Don't waste your vote. Vote strategically this election. Vote to defeat Harper and return Canada to its roots and values.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Morning at Outerbridge Park

Outerbridge Park is a hidden gem here, a huge rambling garden with ponds that was built over many years by a woman in her sixties and seventies and then donated to the municipality.

I was there the other morning with my camera buddy Jackie and we spent several hours wandering around.

You never know what is going to attract your eye in a spot like that.

You start with the flowers and trees...

... and then suddenly you're lost in what's floating in the pond...

which segues into reflections and refractions....

.... and on it goes.

The next time I head over there it could be something else.  Photography is a kind of walking meditation.