Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Deja vu

Or:  Another dog, another body of water, another stick!

I took these at Crofton Lake the other day.  This is one of Else's dogs, Tanner.  He's as stick-crazy, water-crazy as Sadie B.

Hey, I found a stick!

Will ya throw it for me?







Um...it broked when I grabbed it -
but I got part of it!

Headin' back to shore!


Shake some more!

Do the zoomies....

Find another stick....

And start all over again!

All photos (c) Jean Ballard 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A dog, a river, and a stick

It doesn't take much to make Sadie B happy.  The other day Gail and I took Sadie B and Eddie to Swallowfield, where the day was gorgeous - and so, apparently, was the water:




I see it!




I got it!



and shake some more!

And start all over again!

[All photos (c) Jean Ballard 2014]

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Got those winter time blues?

Me too!

Blue sky!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Sadie B in Blue Chemainus River!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Blue Blue Blue Crofton Lake!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Blue ocean with blue Salt Spring Island!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

And my favourite photo of the week -
No it's not upside down!
Bull rushes reflected in blue Crofton Lake!

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

I took over 400 photos the past two days -glorious weather, wonderful hikes with great friends. Life doesn't get much better than this!
(Will post more photos from these hikes/walks over the next few days).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seeking inspiration

You can always tell when my newspaper column is due because I stop blogging for a few days while I scramble to come up with some topic that will appeal to the readership of this small town.  This is the fourth year that Liz, my co-writer, and I have been producing the Crofton column for The Chemainus Valley Courier, and when you live in a little village of perhaps 2500 people (including those in the more rural outskirts), with virtually no services, so few stores you can count them on one hand, no bank, no hardware, no drugstore, no doctors or dentists, no high school, no gangs, and very few drug addicts or criminals - well, sometimes coming up with interesting stuff to write is a challenge.  Most often, we talk about the beautiful parks and seawalk, nature, birds, fun events like the annual fishing derby or polar bear swim or Christmas parade and sing-a-long, or we interview an old timer with an interesting tale to tell or an artisan with a unique talent to share.

But when you've been writing a column for several years (and both of us contributed to a quarterly Crofton newsletter, now defunct, before that), it can sometimes be hard to come up with something fresh and new.

Liz and I usually take turns with the primary responsibility for writing the column, the other person offering suggestions, doing editing and proofreading, and supplying much-needed prods as the deadline looms closer. And it is my month to write.  And the deadline is the end of the day tomorrow - oops, probably today by the time most of you read this.  (Hmmm, Liz, maybe some of your amazing chocolate quinoa cake would give me the prod I need!).

So that's why I'm sitting at the computer at 11:00 pm blathering away on the blog -  to get the writing part of my brain in gear and hopefully find inspiration for the column.

In the hope of finding that inspiration on a typical foggy grey day in January (Cartoonist Lynn Johnston once referred in a comic strip to February as "that four month period between January and March" - here on the island, it is January that stretches to four months), I wandered down to the beach with Shiloh one morning this week.  Actually, we wandered all around town and then down to the beach - for a dog who is nearly sixteen, that girl can hike!

C'mon, mom, let's see what we can find
to write about!

We looked to the north west

and to the south east

And to the southwest..
but couldn't find a story.
 I came up with a few ideas as I watched the dozens of ducks swimming in the bay, a heron on a piling, and a clump of fresh green mossy grass growing on top of an old piece of wood that supports the RV park's wharf.

Two llittle ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away....

Heron on a piling

Under the wharf
See the grass on the cross beam?

Springing forth from wood

Shiloh thought perhaps I could write about all the logs that have broken free from a boom on its way to the log sort at Shoal Island - they may be a hazard to local boaters, but they do have a pretty red colour and some interesting chains and holes.

This is interesting, mom!

Log and chain
(photo taken in a different season!)

I came home with a few ideas, and before I could get them onto paper,  Bonnie phoned to suggest we take Eddie and Keaghan to Swallowfield.  So off we went.  Not too much exciting there (we were both tired, and the river was high and fast, so we didn't go all the way to the estuary) - though Keaghan did spot some other people far far across the fields:
I see something!
I hear something!

And when we returned to the parking lot, the old tree above our cars held this guy:

Be nice or I'll poop on your car!

He was completely unruffled by our appearance or by the dogs, and calmly watched us as we got in the cars and headed for home.

I'm watching you.

..where I again sat down at the blank screen and thought: what the heck am I going to write about?
Oh well, there's still a few more hours.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mitzi has a Pawty!

Today is Mitzi's 13th birthday, and on Thursday it will be one year since her Mama Anita, my cousin,  passed away and Mitzi came to live with me.  So we had to celebrate her birthday and her "Gotcha" day.

I was going to get her all spiffied up so she looked clean and pretty and as white and fluffy as she did when she first arrived:

Not gonna happen.  She has gone from being a prissy little princess to a rough-n-tumble adventurer.  I brushed her and washed her face this morning.  Then she headed out to the garden where her favourite pasttime is jumping up into the raised beds and pushing the dirt around with her nose, pawing at it with her feet, and generally digging for buried treasure.

Then we went for a walk down to the beach, where she checked out the seaweed and sniffed at the barnacles and romped in the sand.

Keeping her clean is NOT an option.

So this evening, after all the critters had been fed and were somewhat settled down, I pulled out the treats and the pawty hats and, of course, the camera. And quite possibly took some of the worst photos you'll ever see on this blog because for some reason the focus wasn't working - but I just have to post them anyway.  And I don't think the critters will stand for retakes!

As soon as Mitzi saw me head for the dress-up box, she high-tailed it into her bed in the bedroom.  And tried to be incognito behind her rose-coloured glasses.
Maybe Mama Jean won't recognize me
behind these glasses!

We did have a little talk about her fall from Princessly-status to adventurer, but she assured me she is still a princess.

Just a rather grubby one

And while she was happy to eat the treats, she wasn't too keen on the pawty hat:

The things I have to do
for a cookie!

Shiloh, on the other hand, didn't mind it at all,

Huh?  There's something on my head?

And neither did Eddie,


And neither, to my amazement and amusement, did Allie!

I better get a whole package
of  treats for this!

We all had some yogurt, and a few little cookies and then I put the hats away.

Shiloh was so exhausted she didn't even make it all the way into the bed before she was sound asleep.

Who put the booze in the yogurt?

Mitzi, however, headed for her favourite armchair.  Dirty face and all.

Ah may not be as purty as ah used to be,
but I is havin' a good, good life!

Happy 13th birthday, Mitzi.  I hope you've enjoyed your first year with us.