Tuesday, April 29, 2014


 It was a day to sit in the Siberian Blugloss. It was a day to watch. Cordelia did it very well.
 She saw the Indoor Three. They saw her.They wondered what she was. So beautiful in her floating white fur.
 She sat wth  the ferns and hostas, wondering what she should do next. Very difficult decision for a little cat.
 She saw Spencer doing his best peeping Tom impersonation. Spencer was SUCH a boy, Cordelia thought.
 She saw the door to the greenhouse was open.  She left her cozy little green nest, to investigate.
 Greenhouse was full of flowers. Too full for Cordelia to squash herself in. So she sat on the edge. She didn't like sitting on the edge. She like toodling around the greenhouse. The flowers made her sneeze.....What should she do next......
 Back to the hill. Back to the silent Moai. Back to the ferns, bleeding hearts and shady plum tree.
 She watched Smokey sit on his toilet. He always sat there. She would NEVER sit there.
 She felt all warm and fuzzy in the garden. With the blugloss, the ferns, the hostas, the bleeding hearts and the bugs. She could still see things down below. Her domain.
 And she saw Penguin. Sitting on the porch. For treats. She wouldn't mind some treats. So she left her cozy green nest,once again, and went down to see.
 Penguin was long gone. So were the treats. But she saw Spencer. It was the end of the day.
 Spencer was heading for home. Along the cat trail, worn by  his paws. Worn by Smokey's paws. Many times they had used this trail. And it showed.The way home.
 It had been a good day. Cordelia washed her paws and watched Spencer. Ambling along his trail. All the way home. A good place to be.
And soon after, Cordelia leapt up onto the compost bin at the back of the fence. Her home right behind. Her world complete. Her day done.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

QUIET MECCA , Campbell River,B.C.

 Heading north or south along 19A hwy, in or out of Campbell River, and you will come across Tyee Spit, Discovery Passage.  A little piece of wonderful. Dick Murphy Park. Right beside the spit is Painter's Lodge, famous for it's fishing, wildlife and whale watching tours, tea and all round yummy things.
 There is a complimentary 10 minute shuttle tour across the bay to another  lodge on Quadra Island.  April Point  waves at Painters Lodge, beckoning most to its shores.  The lodges are quite west coast, a little older decor inside, circa 1975. The shag carpeting has to go, I think, especially the orange and brown motifs, but the people are friendly and  tourists come from all over the world to fish  and soak in the island charm. I guess they aren't paying for designing doodads. They are there to soak up salmon.....
 Hard to miss is the eagle's nest, towering above the spit and Painter's. When we were there the other day, one of the eagles was sitting on the nest, while the other parent took time to float on windy shores. Best high rise in the town.
 Thunderbird Park is located next to the Spit on the Laich-Kwil-Tach First Nations land. It is safe and beautiful. Some RV's winter here, others come in for the summer. Perfect views across the Discovery passage. So named, in 1792, by Captain Vancouver for his ship the HMS Discovery.

 Walking trail is easy and winds around the point fairly push you along to the ocean. Dog walkers, People walkers, everyone seems to enjoy the  incredible quiet. Just the eagles  calling; boats toodling up and down. And of course , the float planes.
 In the late 1800's a flurry of activity came to the spit, and Discovery Passage. Europeans searching for hordes of salmon, apparently. First nations people guided  fishermen, up and down at the Spit. It is still
 probably one of the best places to go and watch  float planes land and take off.One of the better places to sit and hear yourself think. Standing at the edge of the bridge that leads to nowhere, you can easily take in geese, float planes, eagles, ducks, all along the estuary. The estuary seems to have its own life.
 Over in the distance is  Elk River Range Ridge. Though, the other day, it was shrouded in cloud and flog and mist......having just had a torrential rainstorm. And another one on its way.
 It was in 1951 that float planes were finally established at the Spit. Now a usual form of transportation, not just for tourists to get around to mountain lakes, but for local people to  visit back and forth, business people to visit sites.  The planes remind me of the eagles...they seem to share the sky  quite well.
To stand on the shore and see houses on Quadra Island perched on rocks. The ocean storms must be glorious to watch."The wind is piping loud, the lightning flashes free, while the hollow oak our palace is, our heritage the sea." ( A. Cunningham)
And though it may be a quiet mecca,  it is  serene and draws you in. You can walk there, and actually speak to  the wind  for once, and hear it answer you......

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sigma Nikon 500mm review

 It finally happened. I finally picked up the Sigma 500mm ultra-telephoto zoom by Nikon. For a year and  a half I've been drooling over this lens. I would go into the store, ask to see it, then put it back. Waiting till I was able to get it...saving,scrimping, hoping.And then income tax refund rolled around......enough for the lens, and enough to pay some bills, and enough to save. Yay.  Worth the wait.And I even got a store discount. Double yay!
Sigma APO 150-500mm F5-6.4
 It's about as big as Bunny. As you can see from the photograph. It is impressive. A lens that can't be ignored. It is heavy...but not overly heavy. It needs a tripod . Something I need to get this weekend. I have a tripod, but it has a  different mount. The Sigma is a twist in mount.  But it is not too hard to hold for short periods of time. Wouldn't hold it for an hour. Definitely need a tripod for long hauls.This lens is not available , however, for Sony or Pentax cameras.
 Does great close ups . Bunny was the most availabe at the immediate moment so she is my model here. Easy to focus manually. I'm not big on autofocus, but it's just fine as well.The optical stabilization compensates for camera shake at times.
 Tried it outside from our hill towards Mt. Washington. This is the 150 mm......... have a good look at the centre portion of the mountain.....the hyper sonic motor in the lens is extremely quiet. Can't hear it at all.
 And here it is in 500mm. You can see the trees. That is soooo exciting. 
 This is  Lionwillow ( I believe), which has small, tiny flowerets. At 500 mm they look huge.

 In the store, I tried out the lens  on the spur of the moment. On Dale. Had her stand way back in the TV section. I stayed back at the photo desk. Can't tell you how far away that was. But far enough. With overhead lighting....took a great photo. Was easy to figure out. Very clean.No ghosting of images.
  On the way home, stopped by the Pier, pulled the lens out of its box. I just could not help myself to  try it on the marina. The lens comes with a huge handle, that you can balance on anything, or twist into a tripod. I balanced it on a picknik table just to try it out. Awkward. I would recommend a tripod, or hand held.
 Back at home, took a shot at Pasque flowers way up on the last terrace, from inside the house, to see  how the light would be. No weird fluctuations. Good colours.
 In the rain. You can see the raindrops. This tree was taken from my front window, down and at the edge of the cul de sac.Focus is on the left portion.
 And of course, Smokey. He posed ever so nicely, ouside the office window, on the fence near the stone wall. Click CLick. Quick and easy.
 Really happy with the Sigma. Probably one of the more affordable high end lenses out there. I don't think I can put it down......

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


 I've been busy. It's time to stuff the greenhouse.  Greenhouse stuffing is a yearly event. Can't pass up finds. Too early to plant. So stuff the greenhouse. I've still got a ways to go . This is a typical spring for Campbell River. Cool nights.Cool days. Some warm afternoons. The sweet pea seeds love it.
 I tend to buy flats of flowers. Not individual ones , but complete flats. I get a discount sometimes. Or if I have a Canadian Tire coupon card, I get $10 off each completed card. The other day I had TWO completed cards. that was $20 of my purchases of flowers.  Woo Hoo!
The nurseries are great. But far more expensive. Even Thrifty's  and Wal Mart has cheaper plants. I buy their geraniums by the flat ($1 per seed geranium. And they get big. So don't be fooled by their appearance right now). I also  got Ivy Geraniums, which are quite tender, and should not go out with the others until it warms up. You can overwinter ivy geraniums. This year I have a purple one that has lived inside in the upstairs window . It's starting to flower.
 Spencer usually supervises. He's not much help lugging the flats into the greenhouse. But he seems to approve. This year I picked up Variegated Potatoe Vine ( Loose clusters of white flowers with yellow beaks. Green and golden yellow leaves. Very strong vine) Of course, Rhodochiton Atrosanguineus ( MY FAV), known as "Purple Bells". Pendulous purplish red flowers are followed by balloonlike fruit, It's very very cool. They like parital sun. Hang a basket of them under a tree.
 Hanging iron basket in greenhouse has been stuffed full of rhodochiton. They will cascade out of there before long. Also found a new one for  me: "Scaevola" ( Makes a large display of pink, fan-shaped flowers on a  trailing plant. Flowers forever, I have been promised. Good. We need things to flower forever.
 Of course, Penguin isn't too interested in flowers. He just wants a snack and the opportunity to sleep on the chairs on the porch.  The porch is where the fushcias will be draped, when ready.I love reading the tags on the flowers. On the Fuchsia tag it says: "Decoration only. Do not eat". I guess they ARE pretty enough to eat.......
 I was also able to pick up Tuber Begonias. They can be rather delicate. I'm hoping we don't get too many goopy, sloppy rainy days, cause the greenhouse could get too murky....Have a new  Setcreasea "Purple Heart" to try out. Wonderful, upright/semi trailing purple plant, kind of reminds me of  Aloe Vera. Only purple. And pale pink flowers in the depths. What else did I get so far......ummmmm, let's see.......Lobelia, Verbeena.Hmmmm, keep thinking there's more ( well, there will be).
 And against all that I usually do, I picked up Impatiens. Not wild about them. Messy , silly little flowers. But figured they would be good filler in the porch pots which get complete shade, most of the time.  I'll hide them under the Fuchsia.
 But it's still early. A few weeks to go till things can be planted outside. The grafted cherry tree is just flowering. A little late.  And Spencer,at the end of the day, in the twilight, after all the excitement at the greenhouse, has decided to snooze on the porch for a short while.All that supervising  of Greenhouse stuffing has been extremely taxing. Soon he will off for home, into the night......