Saturday, April 30, 2016


 SPENCER , golden cat from the hill, liked to garden. He liked everything about  gardening. He liked swishing his tail over the dirt. Scattering seeds. Playing hide and go seek in the newly planted sweet peas.
 Spencer was VERY helpful.  He supervised. And liked to play SURPRISE by jumping out  from the leaves.
 He especially loved to sit and TWITCH his tail at the Doves. They were most interesting.  He didn't know what they were. But they had wings. Big flying snacks that he couldn't reach.
 Spencer watched the other cats . Especially Frank, the other cat from the hill. Frank was regal. Frank had big blue eyes. Frank crooned. Spencer did not know  how to croon.
 FRANK liked to keep a careful eye on  Spencer. From up high. It was safe. Up high.
 Bees bumbled back and forth. BUZZZZZZZZ....
 They hung on the Cranesbill like teddy bears.
 Cordelia perched on the compost. Away from Spencer's reach. She eyed  Spencer AND Frank. And they eyed  her.  All their tails TWITCHED at the same time.
 While the BEES hummed. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
 SMOKEY wondered where all the snakes were keeping. He liked to catch snakes. They wriggled.
 At one point, Cordelia became brave and came down off her compost to have a drink.
 Spencer saw the wind wave. His big golden eyes blinked.
 He saw  ladybugs stretched out on leaves.
 The bees flew off. It was a day to nod. To dream . Buzzzzzzzzz...
 "Then just within the gate I saw a child, a stranger-child, yet to my heart most dear
 He held his hands to me, and softly smiled with eyes that knew no shade of sin or fear.
 "Come in," he said, "and play awhile with me; I am the little child you used to be." 
                      (Henry van Dyke  1852-1933, "The Child in the Garden")
 The the wind whispered and it was late in the day. Spencer yawned.  A lazy day .
 And he dreamed of BEES. Buzzzzzzz. And cats. Twitch twitch. And SNAKES.Wriggle Wriggle.  and DOVES.
With  innocence of thought. Blissfully uplifted into the twilight of the day......
Photographs: Michelle McConachie Woods

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

FRANK's DAY.....

"Every blade of grass, each leaf, each separate floret, and petal, is an inscription speaking of hope. "(Richard Jefferies 1848-1887)
 Oh to be a pair of turtle doves, puttering about on the lawn....Oh to be a cat, watching doves toddle about on the ground. Oh the excitement. Oh to be FRANK the cat from the hill....
 To ogle  Doves sitting in the feed pan. Out on their date. While a cat watches. A cat like Frank.
 While the Cranesbill explodes all through the garden. Surprises  here and there. Frank slides himself onto the greenhouse to start his day. His wonderful cat sort of day.
 Frank from the hill.. I've named this one "Frank", as in Frank Sinatra, cause he lounges on the greenhouse, and if he could croon, he would, while watching the turtle doves.  I don't think he's singing to them, however....  He favours the greenhouse most mornings. His oasis.
 Frank watches the Cranesbill growing. And The Moai, humming , into the wind. I'm sure he's debating where the Cranesbill will grow best:  Sandy soil. Normal soil. Shade. Partial shade. I am sure he debates this at length. While he croons his day away.
Frank is not too keen on Smokey OR Spencer.They don't care too much for flowers.  The Cranesbill blooms in the spring, sometimes later on in the season. But I don't think Frank worries about that too much. He just flops  on the roof. He surveys.
"Among human beings a cat is merely a cat; among cats a cat is a prowling shadow in a jungle." (Capek 1890-1938)
 A Turtle Dove is  lovely to watch.  Yum yum. Says Frank. As he twitches his tail.
 Cranesbill  floats in the wind, looks great in the rain, and BEES love it. Not sure the cats care about how it floats. Or about bees. They do  chase bees sometimes.  They hide in the Cranesbill to chase the bees. Then the bees chase them......
 Looks like it's not just Frank who is interested in the Doves. .......or the big world outside. Bunny sees Frank. He twitches his tail at her. Bunny doesn't like his lounge act much.
 The cats are fully aware, of course,  that at the same time  Cranesbill is starting to  pop out of the dirt,   so is the  MOUNTAIN BLUET ( CENTAUREA). Of course they are. They see all and know all. Especially Frank.
 Also known as Bachelor's buttons, it's considered a WEED by some. For shame.
 A weed????? It came originally from Europe, likes lots of sun and some rain in which to thrive.  It's a hairy thing.  Kind of like a cat. Like Frank. Who has a big thick coat.
 Frank is more interested in the DOVES than flowers.. He naps all morning on the greenhouse. He waves his paws in the air when he dreams. He must think he is a Dove.
 At the same time,  Cordelia keeps her eye on Frank.  She hides behind the Cranesbill
 which  is : is rabbit resistant, masses well, and reminds Frank that life is pretty good on the roof.
 CENTAUREA often shows up as a mistake, like it did here, in my garden. Just sort of popped up one day. Like Frank did. Just one small plant , that decided to live in the dirt, and now it's spreading through the garden. A weed? Shame Shame.  I love it. The bees go crazy for it. It grows up to 30-80 centimetres tall. And yes, it's hairy. Looks a lot like a thistle. Or like  a cat. Like Frank. 
 Besides which there are troughs of Sweet peas . There are miles of sweet peas .  Well,  almost miles. Frank watched me stuff seeds into the dirt. Grow . Grow. Grow. Frank  sniffs into the wind from his perch. He must sense the Doves.
Those Doves  hanging out in the cherry tree.......... opposite Frank on the roof.
 Much to Frank's dismay. He  climbs up higher ,to the top of the greenhouse. Thinking he'll be closer to the action. He croons away. 
 Smokey is wiser.  He naps on the bench. He yawns at Frank.
 And CORDELIA is the wisest of all. She  sees Frank teeter away on the roof.
"Sitting silently, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself." (Basho 1644-1694)
 Only the MOAI is silent about it all. Buried up to its ears in  green stuff.
 And the  prolific CENTAUREA: It now grows all the way up and around the fence.  BEE haven.The flowerheads are very much like knapweeds. Fuzzy and hairy. Like a cat, remember. Like Frank. Frank the Cat from the hill, who is having a lovely day. Waves his paws from the roof and sings....
 "Stay quiet; refuse nothing; flowers grow only because they tranquilly allow the sun's rays to reach them. You must do the same." (Juliana Krudener 1764-1824)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

In Campbell River

 CAMPBELL RIVER is situated on the east coast of Vancouver island, British Columbia on Discovery passage. It's about a 3 1/2 hour drive north of Victoria.   In the spring it is somewhat of a show off.  All fresh and new.
 Has a healthy group of Star Trek enthusiasts, of the furry purrrrsuasion.
 Beaches at low tide  provide a great expanse  of wide open spaces. You can find beaches all along the coast. Some of the closest ones  to the city are Saratoga, Miracle  and Rotary Beach and a few others tucked here and there.
 In the spring,  spring flowers are bar none. Lush. Green. Velvety with rain. ( This is Anenome)
 Discovery Harbour, Fisherman's Wharf, Coast Discovery Marinas are close  by. Salmon point is located just on the edge of town,heading towards Courtenay.
 If you get a fishing license, you can fish from the Pier ,off the boardwalk on hot summer days, or go with a fishing guide and fish in open water.
 Or you can try whale watching.
 Or cat watching.
 And try out the  fabulous sushi places downtown.
 Or just watch the flowers grow.
  A 40 minute drive north of  Campbell River, is Strathcona Park. 

 Watch the flora and fauna wave in the wind.

 Or be watched.
 Plenty of biking, hiking, golf. Grape vines explode. In the fall there will be grapes to turn into wine. Then there will be wine making from the fruits that have grown all summer: rhubarb, blackberry, cherry, grape, apple......
In Campbell River Pier Street Market goes on all summer long, till October. I have gone off and on, can be a little pricey, but there are tons of aritsans, baking, fresh veggies, music to be had. Grteat place to meet people.

 Quadra island  hosts Studio tours from time to time featuring local art people, crafters, designers. Really something to see.
 And when you get tired , there are  B and B's, Resorts, Campgrounds, hotels, and friends to stay with.
 Real estate is changing all the time in Campbell River.

 The streets are wide and easy to navigate.
 And the fences are pretty nice as well for sitting on.
 A new hospital is going up. Exploding out of the ground. It is said it will be ready in about 371 days. It will be fabulous.
 Meanwhile. Plenty of time to watch the ferns unfurl. And rush hour seep by. Or just sit on the porch and watch it all unfold.
"Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow. " (William Blake)