Friday, July 31, 2009

Hooray for the Bowen Agriculture Alliance

A new website is connecting Bowen food producers through the Bowen Agriculture Alliance (BAA). One of the first things they are doing is facilitating the sale of Bowen produced food at the Sunday market in the Cove.

In related news, I think I pioneered the concept of Willing Workers on Bowen's Organic Farms. Yesterday I helped out with the harvest at the Ruddy Potato garden. We brought in some beans, peas, kale and carrots as well as some basil and squash. No better way than to learn about organic farming than to help out on one.

And if you are a Bowen local, get that good food at the Ruddy Potato, sold under the blue labels. Grown and picked by your neighbours.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reflections from a stormy night

There were many photos taken of the storm that raged across Bowen last weekend. My favourite one so far has to be the slide show time lapse from the webcam at the Burrard Street bridge. When we lived in Vancouver, this was our view of Bowen Island, and I've always been fond of it. The old header from the previous incarnation of Bowen Island Journal was a screen capture from that webcam.

This one shows the eerie light that filled English Bay. My friend and neighbour Alison has a shot from Deep Bay that rocks, and shows the double rainbow we saw.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Most awesome thunderstorm at sunset

We never get thunderstorms here on the coast, not like this. Last night at around 7:00 the sky started to cloud over and a little bit of rain started falling. As the evening progressed, two large thunderstorm cells moved down the Sound and across the island. The sun was setting to the west below the storms as so the air was filled with the most intense orange - pink light. A double rainbow appeared over the Channel. All the greens of the forest looked as if some one had saturated them with yellow.

Then came the lightning and thunder. For two hours, the storm raged all around us, lightning strikes coming literally on top of each other. Several times the top of Mount Gardner was hit, where the communications towers are, and other strikes clearly ground on Apodaca Ridge. Paul Rickett reported that the fire department was called out to a small fire near Grafton Lake which got put out quickly, but I have to admit that the potential for a devastating fire was enormous last night and had me mentally reviewing my evacuation plan.

As it turned out, all is well on the island this morning and we are just left with the most amazing display of natural energy and light.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer and seals

The North Pacific high is well established bringing calm, hot and clear weather to the south coast of BC. This is turning out to be a massively dry summer, fuelling forest fires in the interior and creating drought conditions all over the place. It reminds me of 2003, when the salal in the forest margin behind our house dried up and died. The huckleberries are thin and mealy and the cedars are drying out.

Most significant of all, Bill Newport wrote yesterday that Terminal Creek has dried up for the first time in recent memory. Terminal Creek feeds the fish hatchery, and disaster could have struck the coho and the chum fingerlings, but the hatchery stewards got water pumped through in time. The note of alarm in Bill's voice is distinctive though, and I'm surprised we haven't yet heard of water restrictions on the Cove Bay system.

IN another note, the ocean has been stunningly warm and the swimming is excellent. Yesterday Finn and I went over to Bowen Bay and I swam out to the float to relax. While I was lying there with my legs dangling in the water, I felt a kid bump my foot and when I looked down I saw that it wasn't a kid at all but a seal pup bobbing in the water. I said hello, it looked at me for a few minutes, and bumped my foot with it's flipper again before slowly swimming away. It kept coming back to the float though, playing around with kids and adults who were swimming out there.

Cute and all, but remember that if you go out there, try not to initiatie contact with it. If this little seal grows to be curious about humans, it could create problems later in life if it approaches boats. So as with all seal pup events at Bowen Bay, give it it's distance.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Finally home for the summer

After a busy year of travelling, I'm finally back home on the Rock and learning to slow myself down. Yesterday was the first full day at home in a month and I had every intention of going berry picking - huckleberry and salal are ripe and some early Oregon grape - and working in the garden and going for a swim and instead I just lay out on the front porch at 1:30 to listen to some podcasts and I fell into a deep slumber, awaking at 6:30 in time to make some supper. I notice that I just need to sink in here.

While we were away in Atlantic Canada for the past month, the deer got into our garden and had their way with it. They stripped the strawberries of leaves and whatever fruit was left, ate all the peas, the beans and the squash plants. They also ruined the tomatoes, but they left potatoes, onions, garlic and beebalm alone. We have several crops growing under row covers - beets, carrots, lettuce, asian greens - and these all survived. The garden is now hermetically sealed and the deer are keeping a watchful eye on things, but so far they are unable to get in.

And speaking of deer, there are a couple of families around our place. Two handsome bucks and two does, one of whom has had her pair of fawns in the last couple of weeks.

We are having a divine summer here on Bowen - probably heading for a water shortage - but the sun and sea are glorious and I intend to soak it up as much as possible.