Tuesday, August 30, 2011


First of all, about a month ago I put two of my shawls in a local (Fulford) shop that has other fibre-y gifts (and it's owned by a local weaver) -- and she told me my prices weren't high enough. Well, she called to tell me that both shawls sold last week -- at the higher prices she put on them! So even after she takes her commission, I'll still have a nice little cheque for myself -- and she wants more shawls. :)

Secondly, Mischa and the boys were just here for the weekend... we went to the lake twice, and one of the times watched this young man fishing from the float:
And the boys got in some beach-combing, of course:
And Mom got to relax a little!
We watched boats come and go...
... and picnicked at Drummond Park, and did dinghy rides, and drank coffee .... and I added another 5" to the 'Hearts Entwined" stole.

So today I have grocery shopping and laundry to do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


We had a lovely day on the water yesterday with some folks we met last month, here. There were nine others besides us, and we went all the way over to James Bay on Prevost Island. In Swanson Channel, we saw a whale-watching boat we'd never seen before...
... and then this beauty (an old Chris Craft, but MUCH older than ours!) went by:
... and when we pulled in to James Bay on Prevost, this youth group was just leaving...
Michael had time to schmooze with the ladies...
I had time to knit.... 23" done on the stole...
... and I'm playing with a whole new scarf design/pattern...
We were back at the marina by 4:30, in sunshine, blue sky and calm seas!

Forgot to show you this yesterday. . . the locals, when they need to check something on their boats, 'haul out' by tying up to the government dock walkway across from us and waiting for the tide to go out...
... but it must not have been anything serious because he sailed out past us as we were coming home!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Woke up at 4 a.m. to the sound of rain on the roof .... I can't remember the last time it rained!

Just to catch up from last week .... I never did get that freezer, but an entirely different one should be getting delivered here today. I can hardly wait ... I've been picking blackberries for about a week, and buying great produce at the market, as well.

Fulford is such a sleepy little village that anything out of the ordinary gets noticed... so last week, when I glanced out the window, I saw a huge barge being brought in to the bay by tugboat. We hopped into the inflatable and buzzed over to Drummond Park (across the bay) in time to watch two buildings being unloaded onto the beach!

The smoke is coming from the tugboat, powering up to manoever the barge onto the beach. I spoke to Nickel Bros. House Movers the next day and they said they purposely beach the barge about 2 hours before high tide so that by the time the tide comes fully in, they are finished and the barge is re-floated.
This is the crane putting ramps in place for the trucks to drive on to the barge -- the buildings are already sitting on trailers. I have a great video of this whole process, but it's 7 minutes long and the file's too big -- if I can figure out how to edit or compress it or something, I'll upload it.

I've tried to find out who the recipient of these buildings is, but no one has returned my calls so far. It was a fun evening in the dinghy, anyway!

More random scenes from around the harbor... a neighbor on the government dock bringing his sailboat around the ferry dolphins:
... an evening parade past our stern:
... and a seagull hoping to be fed:This past weekend there was a big event here on the Island -- the 12-step 'community' holds annual rallies in various places, and the annual Salt Spring one is a huge camp-out. We didn't camp (because we can drive there in 20 minutes) but it was fun to see lots of old friends, and much to my surprise, I tried BBQ lamb for the first time in my life. It was delicious! The event is held at the Salt Spring Island Farmers Institute , the same place that houses the local museum and the Gulf Islands Spinning Mill ... but I didn't have time to visit either of those places. Another day!

Today we'll be hanging out at home because tomorrow we have a boat cruise planned with several elderly folks, and we need to build a new set of stairs for them to get aboard (the old one got tossed in the dumpster when we left Victoria)! I hope to find some knitting time .... I've got about 18" done on Julie's stole, and of course, another pair of socks on the needles. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


After seven years of living right downtown, I've had to adjust to planning a whole day just to 'go to town' now. Ganges is about 15 miles away, so you don't want to forget anything!

We have to go to a building supply place to pick up new supports for this dock repair...
Apologies for the twilight picture .... is this one better? :)
Anyway, so we have to go to Ganges this morning. That means ....

- gathering up the laundry to take to the only public laundromat on the whole island;
- making sure we have all our garbage and recycle-ables sorted and ready to go (there is no pick-up here on Salt Spring -- we have to deliver, and we actually pay by-the-bag for our garbage disposal);
- have any paperwork or banking that needs to be done, with us;
- have any phone numbers or addresses we need (in this case, I'm picking up a freezer that's being given away!);
- have the empty egg cartons to return to the farm where I'll pick up another dozen organic eggs on the way home;
- having a thorough grocery list (this will become even more imperative at the end of September when the Fulford village convenience store, Patterson's Market, closes for good).

I've gotten tired just making that list! However, it's moments like this one, last night, that make up for the inconvenience of living in a rural place...
(Click to see a larger photo of our evening 'serenader')! Probably someone waiting in the ferry line-up ... but what a lovely way to pass the time...

Monday, August 15, 2011


Two months ago this morning we untied the lines on the Wind Walker and, after seven years, cruised out of the Victoria Harbour to come to a new opportunity here on Salt Spring Island. The job, in many ways, is similar to what we were doing in Victoria .... taking care of a small marina and the adjacent property. In other ways, it couldn't be more different.
First of all, the marina is a bit smaller -- there is only room for about a dozen boats here. In Victoria, almost every boat had 'un-official' liveaboards on it, but here, we are the only ones. I really like that right now ... but I might feel differently about it in the dead of winter when it's a bit more isolated.

There is a lot more 'transient' traffic here -- we have an 80' dock that sits empty other than for visiting/cruising boaters. Boats stop here on their cruises for a variety of reasons: it's a mile walk to two vineyards that have wine-tastings and tours almost every weekend, and on that same route is the 150-year-old stone church that people like to see close-up, as well as a 'cold beer and wine store' (not on the same property as the church). :-) Or they come in just to wander around Fulford 'Village' -- a funky little community with a few shops and a great restaurant and organic bakery -- or to meet someone coming in on the ferry.

Whatever their reason for cruising in to Fulford, it's our job to see that they are tied up safely, and know how to find whatever they've come for. Some folks love the quiet of this harbour (as opposed to Ganges, the other main community on Salt Spring, which is a hectic and noisy little port) so they decide to spend the night -- in which case, it's our job to get them hooked up to dockside power and water, and make sure they have a key to the bathroom building.

All of this is revenue in our pockets -- we have a 'day rate' and an overnight rate, and Michael and I get 50% of whatever we bring in. The other 50% is ours to account for and administer -- for dock repairs, washroom supplies, etc.

The property is 2.5 acres, and over half of it is in LAWN, which needs to be mowed pretty much weekly. The house is actually two (upper and lower) 3-bedroom executive suites, and the family lives in the bottom suite when they're here. They live on Vancouver Island but come here for most of the summer, the odd long weekend, etc. In addition, he works overseas in the oil industry, and is gone for long periods of time .... so we are here because he doesn't want his wife to have to worry about or deal with property issues in his absence. The upper suite is currently empty and being advertised (got $1800 a month you don't know what to do with? It's stunning!) and once there are renters, we'll take care of minor maintenance stuff, as well.

So that's 'the facts' about our new life. Basically, it's a pretty easy and fun job that's not very time-consuming! In exchange, we get to live our live-aboard lifestyle, with new scenery! And lovely scenery it is, too .... for boaters, it doesn't get much better than being in the heart of the Gulf Islands, and not having to deal with the Juan de Fuca Strait (which blows 300+ days of the year) in order to get anywhere. This is considered 'inside' waters, and during the summer months, it's pretty calm most of the time.

We'll earn our keep in the winter, though - destructive southeasters can roar in here, and one of them took out the Fulford Marina, next door, last year. It wasn't the first time their docks were destroyed, either, but it may be the last -- the couple that owns it is retired now, and they'd have to construct a huge breakwater if they want to re-build. So it sits empty. This place is a bit more 'tucked in' but those storms could still bring down power lines and trees, etc. -- so I'm sure it'll be harder work, then.
WE LOVE IT HERE! Yes, we miss the kids and grandkids, and we miss some of the events that happen in Victoria (this past weekend was the Dragon Boat races, for example, and for the first time since the event began about 13 years ago, I wasn't in a front-row seat for the Breast Cancer Challenge race)... but we don't miss 'city life' AT ALL. It's so quiet here, and there are TREES in our 'back yard,' and wildlife ... I think we've heard a siren maybe twice in two months, as opposed to several times a day! Yes, the ferry comes and goes every two hours .... but I've already assimilated the sounds as part of the 'rhythm' of island life, and we've learned not to try to go to the store when it's loading and unloading.

Today we will take another local family out for a bit of a cruise, so I'm looking forward to that.

I've been knitting, honest, I have! Finished another pair of socks ....
... and what a pain they were! I used up 4 or 5 little leftover balls of yarn from other pairs, and attempted to do the 'Fibonacci' stripe sequence .... but it's not fun getting all those little balls tangled up with each other, and I can't ever seem to get the tension right when switching from one color to the other. Oh, well, I can keep these for myself... what a shame.

I finished my second 'Twilight Garden' shawl a few weeks ago...
Here's a close-up of the little beaded 'flowers':
This one is now in one of those little funky Fulford shops, for sale! Now I just have to write out the pattern....

And I've started work on a wrap for my sister, whose daughter is getting married in October, in Alberta. This one is also my own design, but it's a much easier process when it's just a rectangle! The yarn is pure silk and here's my swatch, for a 'teaser' ...
Life is good! :-)

Sunday, August 7, 2011


We've had the boys here this weekend, so I haven't had a minute to myself, but it's always fun! Yesterday there was a community picnic in Drummond Park ... apparently it used to be a much bigger event called 'Fulford Day,' but not anymore. We had a great time, though! First of all, the boys had to show off their acrobatic skills ... this is Gibson trying to pretend he knows how to do a head-stand:
And then River showed us that he really does know how to do a cartwheel:
And then, of course, their 61-year-old 'Papa' can't be outdone:
... a feat which earned him a 'tackle' (read: no mercy):
... and a challenge to a foot race....
.. which River had no trouble winning! Otherwise, he passes the time being a typical 12-year-old:
And I wandered off and found (finally, I've been looking since we got here!) the world-famous Fulford Harbour petroglyph:

This petroglyph was purposely moved from its original location -- apparently right about where we are! -- about 30 years ago to better preserve it from the elements. It's on a huge rock, which was placed between the bases of two trees in Drummond Park. I'm glad it's hard to find, because so many of these have been vandalized, or just weathered beyond recognition. This one depicts a seal, of course .... and notice how one eye is different than the other?

I'll walk on the ferry with the boys this morning, and Mischa will meet me in Schwartz Bay to collect them. Then Michael and I might go off the dock for a little cruise for a day or two .... it's our 32nd wedding anniversary tomorrow. :-)

Monday, August 1, 2011


What can I say ... time flies when you're having fun? It seems to have been a busy summer so far here at Roamers -- yes, that's the name of the property/marina that we officially take over managing TODAY, Roamers Landing.

Since last week, we took a local family out on a day trip cruise --to Glenthorne Passage on Prevost Island, then Russell Island. It was a fabulous summer day, weather-wise, and a lovely cruise -- I completely forgot to take out my camera until I saw these beauties in Glenthorne, though...
Speaking of beauties, this one was anchored just around the point from us the other night...
She's the Attessa IV, owned by SeaSpan Tug owner Dennis Washington -- one of the 25 largest pleasure yachts in the world, and the largest in North America. See the helicopter on the back?

I personally prefer these kind of beauties, though ... all of which we've seen in the last week!
(In this next one, look on the ground next to the log....)As Michael says, it sure beats having a huge concrete building in our back yard!
Knitting has been happening .... I finished the second pair of socks for Hailey to take back to Whistler with her ...
And the first pair of Gibson's fall socks (it seems unbelievable to me, but he starts kindergarten in September)!
And yesterday, as I was finishing the LAST row on my latest shawl before casting off, this disaster happened:

No, that's not an Addi Turbo AND a Knit Picks harmony wood circular-- it's a KnitPicks with a completely shattered end. It took me almost an hour to pick up and salvage all the stitches that came loose when it snapped - so now I will finish casting off today, hopefully. Aarrggghhhh ... this is one of those times when I need to remind myself I love knitting!

Well, this is the first year in seven that we had to miss the Symphony Splash concert -- there are some issues here at the property that needed to be dealt with because the owner leaves for overseas for three months, tomorrow. You can see how much fun we had last year!

Today will be a day off, but tomorrow I will go to Mayne Island for 3 days to my friend Monica's house. More about that latah!