Friday, October 29, 2010

Foggy day on the hill

This is the view this morning out the window of my little office which faces the front garden and the road.  It's misty and  foggy and it shows off the softness of the fall colours.

The fog's even thicker in the back yard but the leaf colors shine through.

And here's a closeup of a tiny little crysanthemum flower (about an inch across) that I picked in the back yard.  I'm mighty impressed that my little point and shoot lumix can take such a clear image.   I love the regularity of the petals as they circle into the middle of the flower.  

I like the softness of a foggy morning.  Plus, with morning fog like this there's always the hope that the sun might peek through in the afternoon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One step forward, three steps back

I was hoping to be able to show you a photo of the new floor in the laundry room and bathroom at our house on Yukon Street.  Yesterday the floor layers came in and installed the new flooring.  It looked just as good as I hoped with the wall colour I'd used.  Too bad I didn't take a picture of it yesterday.  Today it feels like we're walking into a foggy time warp.  The flooring is ruined.

The new flooring, unlike the vinyl we're accustomed to, can be laid without being glued down and that's the approach that was taken.  It's called a floating floor and it can move around in certain situations.  Think of it like stepping on a silky piece of fabric.  It can skid under your foot.

And that's just what happened this morning when Harry and his son moved the new stacking washer and dryer into the laundry room.  In this case the flooring caught under the wheels of the dolly and was  pulled out from under the edge strip and ripped in two places.  How discouraging and disappointing.  Just when we thought we were making some progress.

We're negotiating with the store that supplied the flooring about a refund since they never warned us about this quote/unquote wrinkle.  But even if we can get some kind of refund, we're now back to selecting and installing the floor all over again.  It's one step forward and three steps back with our renovations this week.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Flame bush

I think this shrub is called the flame bush--for obvious reasons.  In spring and summer it's a subdued green but this is its colour in the fall.  Glorious.

I'm showing you distant, close up and macro so you can get the complete essence of this lovely plant for Ruby Tuesday.  Click here to find other red images.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


The rain that has been threatening all week arrived last night.  All week I tried to find time to get out into the garden and do some fall cleanup but it was not to be.  And now the garden and the woods have a very soggy feel. I think that sogginess will be the descriptor of the garden for the next few months and my cleanup work will be done in rubber boots and raincoat.  Being away over the winter for the past three winters has spoiled me and I'm going to have to relearn how to spend the winter in a rainforest.

I think one approach is to prepare lovely winter meals like oven roasted vegetables with olive oil and rosemary and invite friends over to share.  They were delicious.

Speaking of rainforests, here are a couple of images from today's trek in the woods with the dogs.

We were surprized to see these mushrooms growing right up the trunk of a fir tree.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Such a civilized place

Three final images from Port Townsend showing just how civilized it is.

They've created a little flower garden in the space at the end of the street where parked cars dont' fit.  I think it's a sweet use of otherwise empty roadway.  How civilized!

Dogs can sleep in the deep window sills just outside a downstairs coffee shop.  This dog was a friendly giant with huge broad head and lovely manners.  It looks like he's used to hanging out there and greeting people while his owner has coffee inside.  How civilized!

And finally, here's the entrance to the coffee shop, which is situated deep underneath the sidewalk outside this lovely old granite building.  They call it "undertown" and this is the classy Victorian style covered entrance complete with iron roof and ornate handrails.  How civilized!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Harvest market

I've still got lots of Victorian architecture shots from my trip to Port Townsend but I wanted to show you these images of the Saturday market.  It's held in the area called uptown, where the more genteel families shopped in the old days, since the downtown waterfront area was somewhat seedy.  There's a little park with a bandstand and a water view where the local market is held every Saturday.  October is such a perfect time for farmers markets.

I've been to a lot of markets but this one had a really special feeling.  There was a quartet playing lively music and lots of people of all ages wandering around looking and buying.  Everyone seemed very relaxed and happy to talk and visit and pat the dogs and buy harvest vegetables and crafts.

Here's what caught my eye:  Kids buying pumpkins, a selection of succulents, and rainbow chard.

The vegetables at this market were displayed so beautifully I couldn't stop taking photos.  Below are the colorful carrots and the exquisite greens, and the tomatoes.

Not to mention the flower arrangements, the bread and baking, and the gypsy coffee served by the beautiful woman with the child.

And then there were the crafts.  What I loved most was the felted wool made into scarves, hats and even bowls and flowers.  Port Townsend has a lot going for it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Port Townsend--a town of another era

Port Townsend is a relic of the Victorian era and it has a peaceful timeless feeling.  Bells from the courthouse ring the hour and the air is soft and clear.  It also has a sense of being very connected to the woods and the ocean of its coastal location.  I love this place.

Here are just a few images to give a sense of what we've experienced in the last couple of days. 
Upper windows of an apartment, a store front on Water Street, the window of the Palace Hotel (an infamous brothel from the turn of the last century), an owl resting on a branch just behind the main street.

There are other photos still on my camera that I'll look through and share once we get home.  We're catching the ferry back to Victoria this afternoon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

To the USA just across the strait

To get to Port Townsend you take an old ferry called the MV Coho that runs across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from downtown Victoria to Port Angeles, an hour an a half away.  It's not that far away so we tend to forget that it is actually a foreign country and we need the correct documentation to enter.  My sister's passport expired this summer but she wasn't too worried as the Coho's website said an "enhanced" dricers licence would be accepted.

The only thing was, her driver's licence wasn't enhanced, and we didn't find this out until we were in the lineup for the ferry.  To cross the border she also needed her expired passport as proof of citizenship and she'd left that at home.  So while I sat in the lineup Jan took a taxi home to get her documentation.  She arrived back in time but was then sent to the immigration lineup.  To make a long story short, she was approved only a couple of minutes before the boat left and we were squeezed on into the last little space.  But it all worked out and we sailed across a calm sea, sighting some orcas to arrive at this darling little town, with a quick stop at a shoe store to pick up some bargains.

Port Townsend is a Victorian town full of lovingly restored mansions and hotels facing the water.  Our B&B room is in the turret of a three story mansion.  We look out over birch trees and an old coast guard building to the ocean.  The weather is lovely and we have two days ahead of us to explore.  Hopefully the morning's upset has used up our quota so we can enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Turning the corner

You know how it feels when everything is in flux and you can't find a place to stand to look out and make a plan?  That's how it was for me yesterday.  In fact I awoke at 2:30 and fretted about details of our renovation for a few hours last night.  But today we've turned a corner.  We've found a plumber who can help us with some nitty gritty plumbing stuff.  And (hooray!) we've found a laminate flooring that will work and what's more, inspires us to make some colour and design choices for the kitchen.  This is a huge breakthrough.  Now that we've chosen a flooring, we can choose wall paint and tiles that will create a lovely space.  Now I have a vision in my head about how things can look.  Now I can be inspired to continue scraping and sanding and priming because I know what the road is leading too.  Here's a toast to turning the corner.

Plus, my sister has invited me to spend the weekend with her in Port Townsend, so I'll have an opportunity for a little break from the renovation routine.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Renovations are hard

OK, I admit it.  I'm whining here.  It's just that we've been working on the main floor of the house on Yukon for five and a half weeks now--and we're still in the destruction and chaos mode.  I spent three weeks just on  the kitchen cupboards and that's only the insides.  The kitchen still looks like this.

At this rate I think we may not be finished until next summer.  The plan is to upgrade the apartment and then put the house up for sale.  Now that we've ripped things out there's no going back though.  It just has to be head down and push forward.  Tonight I am tired because I've been up and down a stepladder sanding the flaking paint off the bathroom ceiling.   Time for bed; tomorrow is another day of renovation work.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thanksgiving thoughts

Thanks to all who sent me Thanksgiving wishes for this weekend.  Sunday was a lovely sunny day, despite predictions for rain.  The free range turkey that I prepared with a dry salt rub was an absolute success. I followed this Martha Stewart recipe and it turned out tasty and moist.  The stuffing included these herbs from my garden (oregano, rosemary, sage and taragon).

I think it may have been the best turkey I've ever made.

We spent a couple of days ahead of time preparing so that everything was ready when the guests arrived, so we even had time to take the dogs for a hike through the fields and woods.  Here are two sweet roadside flowers that smiled on us as we walked.

I am so thankful that I have eyes to see these beauties hiding in the grass.

By way of an update on the washer/dryer situation, we didn't need to pay to have them recycled. We ended up finding a young family that was  very grateful to recieve the appliances for free and who came and took them away. 

I hope that your 10-10-10 day and/or your Thanksgiving weekend was as good as ours.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The politics of turkey dinner

This being the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving I am cleaning and cooking in preparation for a big family dinner tonight.  The traditional turkey is being prepared and this year we jumped on the bandwagon and ordered a big bird of the Free Range Organic variety from a local farm.  Buying a turkey used to be a simple matter of going to the grocery store and buying a frozen bird, but now there are so many considerations.  Is it local?  Is it sustainably raised? Is it hormone free? Was it treated humanely?  All these questions are valid concerns and since I try to be a thoughtful, ethical person, I opted to pay the big bucks to purchase a bird that led a happy life. The cost?  Over $100!  (The photo above is the tag from the turkey bag.)

I've been checking out recipes on the internet that will do this turkey justice.  The turkey is sitting in the fridge in a dry seasoned salt brine and I just hope that my cooking method will be appropriate and that it will taste delicious.  I also hope that our evening will have a little of the good magic that can happen when 11 varied people with family connections get together to share a special meal.

Although I'm still reeling at the $100 price tag, I am grateful that I have the financial resources to actually make the choice to purchase a politically correct turkey.  Many don't, or wouldn't consider it important. I'll let you know if the flavor was significantly better. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A walk in the woods


Yesterday morning I started out behind schedule.  My watch had stopped so I was late for exercise class and hadn't even had a chance to take the dogs out.  I rushed down the road but at the stop light at the bottom of the hill, I had a moment to see the beautiful fall morning at Beaver Lake Park and I changed my mind.  Instead of going to class I drove home, scooped up the dogs and headed off for a walk in the woods.  

In this area of tall coniferous trees the early morning light is special.  It penetrates deep into the woods and picks out lovely little things that I might otherwise have missed.

Moss on tree trunks,

Cheeky birds and sunlit cedar branches,


 Ferns and leaves and mushrooms.

The dogs had a great time exploring the depression left by a fallen giant.  I enjoyed seeing the woods with an hour to spare.  It was a lovely way to begin the day.