Sunday, August 30, 2009

How much prouder of Bowen could I be?

This has just been a fantastic month of community. If you really want to get a sense of how this island celebrates itself, you need to spend the last two weeks of August here. We have been celebrating, visioning, playing and socializing a plenty this month, and as Sally Freeman said "I'm in love with my island again!"

A couple of weeks ago, Bowfeast ran down in the Cove. In front of the library, two dozen stalls were set up featuring food from local farmers, gardeners and kids. We had everything from veggies to preserves, flowers, bees, honey and books. There was live music courtesy of us buskers, a picnic in the orchard and across the road, the weekend market was in full swing. There was a great vibe in the Cove that weekend, and I WISH WISH WISH we could do that every weekend all summer long. A vision of some great possibility there.

Also last weekend, the OCP review (follow the link to fill in the survey) on the island got going with the first public meetings, including a well run visioning session. The process seems to be off to a good start, and so far it's meeting my prime criteria of increasing social capital while designing and plan that works. There is a long road to go, but all is good so far. Our Bowen Island Ourselves site has been made a part of the process, and a community gathering we're sponsoring on September 13 will have some contribution to make to the overall process.

Yesterday we had our traditional end of summer gathering in Crippen Park, Bowfest. IN the last three years, the community has really taken over the festival and it has been outstanding ever since, with renewed life and energy. This year, I think for the first time in years, ALL of the musical talent was Bowen based (including honorary lifetime citizen Corbin Keep!). This included an excellent songwriters contest and a variety of music entertainment on two stages with rock and roll, folk, jazz, jugband, and all kinds of interstitial musical genres besides. The weather was beautiful and dancing in the evening to the Bowen Divas and Tony Dominelli was great fun.

It has been a summer of good stuff happening, and now we begin to wind it down in earnest and start to welcome back the fall, with hope for good rains and salmon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Local Recipe contest!

My friends at OneDayBowen have a recipe contest. Using all local ingredients, you can enter the contest to win a local foods cookbook from Phoenix photo. Contest closes August 23.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Certainly feels like things are turning...Ocean is cooling and the recent rains are distincly late summer. But, we have had a pretty strong El Nino this year, and if my interpretation of the North Pacific weather map is right the high pressure is building again and a long stretch of sun and warmth might be in the offing. For me, early signs of fall are the call of crickets and the way low cloud builds into the Sound, with a layer of it hanging at about 1000 feet against the wall of the Britannia Range. That signals cool and wetter air. We often get a spell like that in summer before it a last blast of heat returns to ripen the blackberries and shine on Bowfest (fingers crossed!). First week of September is rainy, then usually a nice stretch of cool nights and warm days for September before the Salmon Calling season begins, and the streams fill with rain.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another season at the ball yard draws to a close

Spent the weekend down at the ball field in the Cove watching the 24th annual Bowen Island Men's Fastpitch Tournament. All six teams play three games each and the top four go through to a knock out round.

There weren't too many exciting games in the round robin, but the first game between the Diggers and the Celtics was fantastic. The lead kept switching back and forth and the Celtics won 8-7 holding on to secure the victory over the Diggers. The Diggers are a great young team, coming into their own with excellent defence. During the regular season they won their last nine games in a row to finish well. They are definitely the team to watch.

All of that youthful vigour however comes at a price, and in the semi-final they drew the Twins, a long standing and very experienced team. The Diggers were one out away from victory when an errant throw from third led to two runs scoring. Needing to bat again, the Diggers had the tying run on third with two out when the runner was called out for leading off, which is of course illegal in softball. The umps had no choice - he was at least two paces down the third base line, nut it was a heartbreaking way to finish their season.

The Firemen beat the tired Celtics in the other semi-final and a rematch of last year's final was set. The Twins put on a clinic, with their years of experience showing as they couldn't let the Firemen get started. Despite a late rally, the Twins won the Championship again this year making it two in a row and moving to an all-time record of 12 wins out of the 24 tournaments dating back to 1986.

So fastpitch on the dry field in the Cove wraps up for another season, and the first signs of the end of summer are upon us. Bowfeast next weekend, followed by BowFest two weeks after that. As if to foreshadow the change, a low pressure system has moved in today and it is cool and raining, heavily at times, and the southeast wind occasionally shakes the trees.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bowen Island songs now online

I have finally put my Bowen Island songs back up on the web. There will be a new one added to this list after Bofest when I unleash the newest Bowen song in the songwriting contest.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


The cloud is moving in...a couple of cold fronts and some low pressure zones have found their way through the high ridge and are builing in to the coast. This will bring welcome relief to those fighting fires up higher in our airshed, which extends up towards Lillooet, but only if it rains. The weekend looks to be completely wet which will be good news.

This has been the worst fire season in BC history with hundreds of forest fires bursting out all over the place. The big ones near Lilooet are send smoke down our way so there is a fine veil of haze in the Georgia Basin hanging under the high cloud.

The sky feels pregnant, like it wants badly to rain, but so far, nothing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The return

The heat has broken, the clouds are moving in and the sky is lowering. Much needed rain is on the way.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Into the blue

The flying Finn

Lovely day in Howe Sound was friends Chris and Nairn Robertson. Chris has a sweet boat, a Farrel hull cruiser, that we sometimes ride around in. He lives over in Gibsons and comes to meet us in Galbraith Bay and then we usually head over to Keats Island and swim and carry on. Today we ended up at Pebble Beach on Keats, jumping from the boat into the water which has reached 26 degrees now, and is positively tropical.

More photos of our day are here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

At the beach

Everyday, at the beach, swimming two or three times a day both to keep the heat off and to enjoy the incredibly warm water. Yesterday I was snorkeling at Tunstall Bay and when I dove down 10 or more feet there was no thermocline, the line at which warm surface water separates from the colder, deeper water. The water has been incredibly warm - the water temperature tonight at Halibut Bank is 21 degrees, and that's in the open. It's more like 23 or higher close to shore, especially at the surface.

Lots of seaweed coming up now. I've been out collecting for the garden. Also lots of wasps around suddenly this week at the beach and elsewhere.

The high we are living under right now is unusual in that it extends high into the atmosphere and it's very difficult for anything to make a dent in it. Not complaining mind. The high dry air has trapped smoke from the forest fires near Lillooet giving us beautiful sunsets and mercury coloured water. I haven't seen a plane contrail in weeks.

Summer lingers on.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Details on the turf field, and Chris finally weighs in

Good article in The Undercurrent this week on the details about the new artificial turf field being installed at BICS. Turns out that the materials being used for the field are entirely recyclable and even biodegradable which seems like a bonus. Seems like even if the field was ever completely taken out, it would be a simple matter to replant the area with grass. That's good news, but probably not good enough to bring peace to the raging debate here. Actually it hasn't so much been a debate as an extended protest and counter-protest, and folks are now so entrenched that there is very little chance of minds changing on the issue. Seems people are either opposed to the field at all costs or in favour of it. Those opposed cite environmental, financial, political and cultural reasons for their opposition. I find some resonance with some of those objections, especially the notion of what it means culturally to have an urban type amenity in a rural setting. On the other hand, I enjoying playing football as does my wife and son, and we will be grateful for a safe playing surface on which to play. Caitlin has already sustained two injuries on the pitted and chewed up natural grass field, and she hasn't been alone. I have a funny ambivalence about the whole enterprise, that strikes me as unusual. I would probably prefer NOT to have a field, but as we are getting one, I'm happy to use it.

What I am most interested in with respect to the field debate is the way that folks have been vilified, slagged, denigrated, investigated and blamed for what has happened. This happens in the Online Forum and it happens on the sidelines and elsewhere face to face. The whole process has had more than it's fair share of name calling and witch hunting and I have heard outright lies and speculation about friends of mine from other friends of mine, on both sides of the debate. That has caused me to distrust and remain aloof from any of the vigorous support or opposition to the field. On several occasions, as I was defending a friend from a character attack, I was lumped in with one or the other camp. The issue is so polarized now that if you see it in any shade of grey, anyone that cares just sees you as blacker or whiter than they are.

So that's why I haven't weighed in on the issue with any kind of forcefulness. My only plea is to stop the personal name calling and I ask people not to speculate on other people's motives without asking them outright where they are coming from. Gossip, innuendo and speculative slander really does nothing to advance ideas, but it's a dandy way to destroy community, the very thing both sides say they want more of. And in this plea I mean BOTH pro- and anti-turf folks. I don't expect my plea to change many minds, but I think I'm not alone in wanting people to find some way to move to a more sophisticated level of engagement with each other.

So, I finally weigh in on the debate, right in the middle of the scale.

Another hot Saturday

A cooler breeze is coming off the water, but the day is still hot in the sun. Took the recycling in today with Finn after which we headed to the Cove for breakfast at The Snug. Busy but fast response on my food, which is nice. It's hard for The Snug to get things done fast on a busy weekend morning, but they were managing well today. At any rate, speed is not what eating at The Snug is all about. Got home and worked the garden a little, developing a bed for next year created entirely from a compost heap.

Last night, we ate a Blue Eyed Mary's. still my favourite dinner spot on the island. The new menu came out yesterday (it changes every month) and I had a beautiful salad of gravlax, bannock and blueberries with maple syrup and a crab and shrimp fritter with fresh veggies. Very nice light summer menu, although I was quite full afterwards.

It's a long weekend here in BC, and things are busy on the island. An extra ferry sailing was on this afternoon, with one leaving at 1:55. The dock dance is tonight which means loud music coming from the Cove until late and probably some dangerous driving on the roads. I'm amazed that after this summer of fatal accidents that people still drive drunk AND fast. Whether you are a tourist or a resident, remember that there are lots of people walking out at all hours this summer and a truly HUGE number of deer around too.

Off to juggling club this afternoon and then the beach. Safe weekend all.