Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nicest day of the year

Sweet air today, the morning full of the piercing calls of Varied Thrushes and a sweet emergence of pollen from the alders. The sun is shining and it's near 20 degress is the sheltered sun - eating lunch on the back porch.

The Queen of Capilano is back in service, plying the calm blue waters of the Channel. All is well.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Geese have set off

One more sign of spring...the snow geese that travel annually between their Siberian breeding grounds and the Fraser River estuary were seen today heading north.  A couple of flocks over well over 200 birds passed high overhead in a ragged V formation, honking enthusiastically at the prospect of warmer weather and hot times on the tundra.

Returning home, living in community

Got back early this morning on the 7:30 water taxi from Granville Island.  The water was flat the whole way other than a little chop in the Sound where the night's light Squamish was finishing.  I've been away for a few days in Springfield, Illinois, and coming how was a sweet relief.  I got off the boat and there was just silence all around, a little birdsong, sun beginning its day under a high hazy sky.  

I waited at The Sniug for the family to pick me up, and got into a nice conversation about the Cape and community and the long furture of life on Bowen.  Lots passed between us, but one thought I was left with was that no one can plan a neighbourhood.  Developers plan developments, but it is up to citizens to make them neighbourhoods.  We have fear about all kinds of scenarios of the future, but at what point do we find ourselves in those stories, helping to turn "developments" to "neighbourhoods."  Regardless of whether a developer has produced a "neighbourhood plan" creating neighbourhoods is the provinces and responsibility of citizens.  So my questions for the medium term and long term for the Cape is, what are we all prepared to do to make whatever happens down there a part of our community?  How do we act as midwives tothe new neighbourhood that will evolve with the new people that will ineveitably arrive?  How do we steward the future community we all want to live in?  If we find ourselves on one side or the other of the debate, can we see ourselves caring after the desicion is made?  Or if "our side" "loses" do we turn our backs on the Cape?  I find my own emotional energy these days invested in these questions.  

In other news, we're doing more work on the front of the house these days, building access to the garden from the front of our place.  Over the past few years we have made more an more of our lives in the out of doors, putting in a hot tub and a garden and patio and using the sleeping porch.  We have a small place, but since stretching out, we are able to make it much bigger, with some many more outdoor rooms and spaces and our lives have stretched correspondingly.  

The work on the front should be finished this week and when I find my camera I'll upload some photos.  

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome the vernal equinox

Spring arrived today. The dawn chorus is in full song, with winter wrens and robins singing their hearts out to attract mates and keep others at bay. Last night was the warmest night of the year, so warm that I had to kick off an extra blanket I had been sleeping with all winter. My three season sleeping bag is back in its zone again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hard rain gonna fall

Falling right now in fact, as it has been most of this week. The water is very much needed, after our dry winter, and probably more on top of this needed to keep the aquifers charged for the summer. But right now, after about a week of mostly solid rain, with some clear days, the ground is lovely and moist.

The humidity right now is 100% too which makes it interesting to be outside. You get wet just standing in the air, let alone in the rain.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New voices

The winter wrens have joined the dawn chorus. For such small birds they have massive voices. They sing to the whole forest, it seems.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Signs of spring

The cool and rainy weather is continuing and last night there were high winds blowing cold from the southeast. Today the kids and I went for a walk around the lake, looking at the way that the forest was coming back to life. The ferns are still flat on the ground, and no fiddleheads have started to emerge yet, but the mosses are verdant and the rain forest is the most vivid shade of green. When a little weak sunlight seeps through the clouds, the yellows and greens and blues come alive, maples covered in moss, goats-beard hanging off the hemlocks and sitka spruce.

The mosqutos are out now, swarming around the water, and doing well with no swallows here yet, and no bats around either. There were buffleheads and scaups on the lake, Canada geese padding around on the ice still formed around the edges of the water and flocks of kinglets and chickadees staking out territory.

In the marshes, the skunk cabbage - ch'├║ukw' in Skwxwu7mesh - is just starting to come up, not flowering yet, but perhaps it will in a few weeks. No horsetails yet either, but you can feel things wanting to burst free. In traditional Skwxwu7mesh culture, this is considered the time when the winter dances draw to a close, and the longhouses close up. All winter, the energy and life that the earth has ceded is available to spirit dancers in the longhouse, but when the earth reawakens for the spring, that energy is no longer available, and the dances stop until the winter again.

The power is returning to the land.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Herring snow

It has been snowing for the past two hours. Snowing I tell you. Why am I surprised?

Around here the joke is that Obama made quick worlk of global warming. Welcome to British Arctica!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Herring rain

The skies are lighter now with the sun rising higher towards the equinox. The rain at this time of year comes in showers or in light spatterings, the first kind of rain I ever experienced here on the coast when I visited Hesquiaht First Nation in 1989. At that time we did some herring fishing, so I have always called this sort of light rain beneath a light grey sky "herring rain."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Cape at stake

George Zawadski has put together a film for the owners of Cape Roger Curtis that is interesting stuff. Part 1 is a video about what people think about the current development proposal for Cape Roger Curtis, and documents how the owners feel about the process and why they have chosen a deadline of June 1 to have their current plan approved or to develop the original 58 lot subdivision.

You can find out more at their website.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The promise of spring

It is a beautiful day here, by any standard. Sunny, warming, calm.

Was in the garden today puttering around, hoeing up last year's big veggie bed and fixing up the composter to keep the deer out of it. Garlic shoots are coming up and I want to get some spinach and radishes in the ground this weekend.

Still sleeoping on our sleeping porch. Finn and I have been out there most of the year, through the snow and the rain and everything else, and now we are falling in love with the dawn chorus as it swells to life in the morning and builds through the season, birdsong changing to loud brash territorial calls and new sounds joining the mix.

Three weeks until the equinox, and you can feel it in the air. There is very little snow left - just patches in the shade and roadsides, and the ground is warm.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A sign of dry things to come?

There is a high fog lying over the eastern edge of Howe Sound sitting a few hundred feet off the water, and nestled against the east wall of the fjord. It extends a little of the way across the Queen Charlote Channel and peters out in whisps and tendrils opening to a clear blue sky in the west. The wind is calm and frost lies in the Cove, where the fog visited the pool of cold air that accumulated there overnight.

The dawn chorus comes alive on mornings like this, in early March. All the birds are making new sounds, calling to one another, establishing territory, competeing for their futures.

And it's dry. Killarney Creek at Miller Road has pulled away from it's bansk exposing muddy stream edges that we don't normally see until the summer. If it doesn't rain a lot this spring, we are going to have a drought this year, and the cedars and salal will grow thirsty and brown like they did in 2003.