Monday, May 13, 2002

The Spring Azures have emerged now with a spell of hot weather we are having. These little butterflies are pale blue or lilac on top at this time of year and they dance around the meadow of sweet vernal grass that we have in front of the house. They are joined at this time of the year only by the Cabbage Whites which are a little bigger.

The Azures actually hatch in two broods over the summer, with the later brood being a lot paler. No one seems to know why this is so.

The butterflies are just one more sign that spring is drawing to a close and that the really warm weather will be here soon. Over the last few days it has been hot, with temperatures in the 20s, which is about as hot as it ever gets in the spring. Funny to think that we had snow on Monday last.

Overnight we have had a low pressure systems move in from the coast bring south easterly winds and rain. The wind blew a large number of blossoms off our cherry tree and covered the driveway with them like snow. Our dogwood tree, sitting next to the cherry, burst into flower, but it does not look well. The leaves are very small and the flowers are misshaped.

That air smells incredibly sweet at this time of the year, from the alders I think. It's like a perfume, especially in the rain. The garden is loving this soaking this morning

Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Okay...we think that spring has finally arrived here. Yesterday there was a few inches on snow on the ground in North Vancouver and an ever so slight flurry here, but today was beautiful. Aine and I went over to Tunstall Bay on the west side of the island after supper to peer at the sunset, collect quartz and watch the planetary alignment shape up.

Tunstall Bay is my new favourite beach. It is a wide bay with a long beach cut into three by two piers. The heart of the beach is an old seawall and the brick remnants of an explosives factory that operated there in the early part of the century. It blew up three times, and the third time, the blast could be felt across the Strait of Georgia in Nanaimo, some 12 or so miles away. Following the demise of the factory, the land was bought by MacMillian-Bloedel and in the 1960s the company started to subdivide it. There is now an active Tunstall Bay Community Association which maintains a couple of tennis courts, a pool, a clubhouse and a private wharf.

Thursday, May 2, 2002

It’s been a busy month.

I travelled to Alaska and Williams Lake for work and missed a whole lot of spring arrive here n the coast. Our garden is starting to bloom, with the daffodils and cherry tree leading the way. Rock daphne and tulips, lavender and rhododendrons are also flowering now. We have started a new flower bed kind of as an experiment nto see what the deer will eat and what they won’t. So far it has been planted with heather, yarrow, chrysanthemum and swan river daisies. The scent of wild plants like the sweet elixir of laurel and alder and the sharp tang of skunk cabbage fill the air.

Aine and I joined the Bowen Nature Club and went to hear a talk on the black tailed deer. We discovered that the reason they like to eat garden plants is the fact that these plants contain so much nitrogen. Nitrogen is critical to maintain a community of bacteria in the deer’s rumen, their first stomach, which allows them to process all kinds of food. Without these bacteria, the deer will die, and several have been recorded dying from malnutrition with a full stomach because they couldn’t digest what was in there.

We had a taste of summer this week. A high pressure ridge parked off the coast, bringing our typical summer weather pattern to us. We had clear sunny skies with temperatures in the 20s and no wind. We have all spent time at the beach and are already starting to tan. Down at Deep Bay the other day the tide was so low that Aine crossed the bay on foot and dug for small clams and heart cockles with her friends.

Today the clouds have moved in and we have had a little rain. The cooler wetter weather is good for the new plants, but lousy for the stargazing that we could do. There is a rare planetary alignment right now and the sky is awash with interesting things to see, including a naked eye comet which Aine and I glimpsed from Hood Point.