Tag Archives: saltspring island

Snapshot of a Salt Spring Saturday

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Sometimes the stereotypes all seem to be true. I just read through the Salt Spring Exchange’s events for today and had to shake my head. Bookended by development and tourism, we have early morning meditation, a group cleanse and detox, a multi-media art show from the Centre for Loving Inquiry, a local referendum vote that has everyone riled up (re. the new proposed fire hall), the Saturday Market, and places to take in branches and exchange leaves.

And apparently nothing to do in the evening, on a Saturday night.

Ah Salt Spring! I must go now and take my daughter and her friends to yoga… and while they’re there I’ll sit at the library and read angry letters to the editor in the Driftwood. Or not.

See the original Exchange post here.

 

Laid-back Friendly Saltspring

DSC08096 - Version 2Considering they’re living in an island paradise, I’m always amazed at how CRANKY Saltspringers are.

One Year Later

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Two days ago we celebrated the one year anniversary of moving into our little house in the woods. They say it takes the first week of a vacation just to start to relax and enjoy yourself. I’m wondering if it takes the first year of living on Salt Spring to unwind all the inner springs and let the watch finally run down.

Who knows if I’m actually at that point yet. What I do know is this: over the last two weeks I feel like I’ve acheived a perfect balance of work-life-fun-chores. Over the last two weeks I’ve settled into a workday ritual that ends abruptly at 3:00, at which point dilly-dallying and puttering take over. The weekend – and we have three days of it here – is given almost entirely to household chores, but done in a meandering, highly distracted way. And when the sun shines, that supercedes all previous plans and we head outside.

Only over the last two weeks have I started to implement 30 minutes of staring idly into space (while sitting outdoors) into my productive workday. And, most importantly, I regard it as a necessary activity!

Neither of us has acquired a taste for kale yet, but my little yogini consumes vast quantities of seaweed snacks. I, on the other hand, do not. She has set up a “yoga oasis” in her room and invites me in to do relaxation poses, complete with eye pillows. That’s my kind of yoga!

I am extremely fortunate to have a seven-year-old who adapted so effortlessly to such a big change, and who makes friends so readily that within days of starting grade one she had found 4 best friends. (They continue to be giddy, silly buddies into Grade Two.) As a result of this social circle, I get to hang out with a pretty fantastic collection of moms.

Lots of quality Grandpa and Grandma time, mild (soggy foggy) winters, blindingly gorgeous summers, greenery and silence, and wonderful friends.

We’re doin’ all right.

the dizzy dames

the dizzy dames

the moms

the moms

B.C. : the Basics

Last week my publisher, Dundurn, asked me to write up a little something for their blog about life in B.C. I’ve also posted it on my official ‘author blog’ but I suddenly realized it fits even better here:

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Perched on a mountain in B.C.

Eight months ago I lived in the west end of Toronto in an old brick house with a yard so small I could cut the grass with scissors. Today I’m in a wood frame cottage surrounded by mossy trees, perched on the side of a mountain on Saltspring Island, B.C.

A bit of a change.

I haven’t been here very long but I’ve noticed a few basic things about British Columbia:

1.     It’s green. Freakishly green.

2.     And damp. If you stand still for too long moss will grow on you.

3.     Ravens’ wings make a loud whooshing sound.

4.     This is the only place where I have ever been asked in casual conversation if I own a chainsaw.

5.     Everyone backs into parking lot spots.

6.     Raccoons in the wild are only half the size of their cheezie-bloated Toronto cousins.

7.     Everyone’s got a bear story.

8.     Santa Claus travels by float plane.

Saltspring Island is a weird, unique little place, but in many ways it lives up to every B.C. cliché. Nobody is on time for anything. Nobody locks their cars, and many actually leave their keys in the ignition. The guy at the next table in the coffee shop could be a millionaire, or he could live in a cave. When you meet someone new here, you have absolutely no idea what outfield world-view they’re about to throw at you.

As for writing in B.C., I now stare out my office window at trees instead of buildings, and my concentration is shattered by ravens flapping around instead of sirens. My brain is still settling into the new rhythm. For a long time I found the energy of the city invigorating. The buzz and hum of people doing things – working, hustling, rushing about, and talking talking talking – carried me along for many years, but lately I realized that the city was just making me resentful, stressed and antsy.

I needed to find a quiet, green, bird-twittery hideaway and this place fits the bill. I don’t know much about the writing community in B.C. yet, though they tell me you can’t throw a rock on this island without hitting a writer. And I haven’t been here long enough to have a full B.C.-inspired novel in my head, but my next book will probably include at least one character covered in moss.

Where We At, Springwise

I know I tend to grab the camera every time the sun comes out for a beautiful day, which can give a fairly skewed impression of B.C. weather. For the most part this is what winter looked like this year:

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I took a ferry on January 21 in some kind of super-fog. (Just one day after this epic day.)

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Seriously, I looked over the rail and couldn’t even see the water.

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I still feel pretty lucky though. The winters are mild. Snow and ice may be flying around the country this week, but here is the last brief glimpse we had of the white stuff – a mere dusting in the air on March 21:

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No sign of it the next morning, as we waited for the ferry:

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Cherry blossoms that week in Victoria.

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There have been daffodils and other flowers all around the island for a good 3 weeks or more, however up on our mountain, we’ve only just gotten to this stage:

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Almost almost almost!

Yes, my bulb planting in the fall has actually produced results! I am gobsmacked.

It helps that the deer don’t like to eat them. My crocuses on the other hand… apparently they are delicious, because there isn’t a single one to be seen.

That’s okay, I’m happy with my daffodils. DSC08602

Almost almost almost here!

Rainbow’s End

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So on Friday, just as we were behind schedule dashing to yoga class (of course), and I was muttering about how we’re always running late, the sun broke through the rain and we beheld a spectacular rainbow over Ganges. As we drove into town it was still hanging on – it was like we drove right through it. It faded by the time we got to our destination. Soooo… if we’d been organized and on time we would have missed the whole thing!

Sometimes the universe has to resort to the most obvious symbolism and beat you over the head with it before you notice.

Photographic evidence that the rainbow ends at Mouat's Hardware.

Photographic evidence that the rainbow ends at Mouat’s Hardware.

I ❤ fire

or… The Wood Stove: Exercises in Manliness

This Valentine’s Day I write a note to my beloved, the focal point of our new home:

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dearest wood stove!

From chopping to carrying to stacking to lighting to stoking to staring at the flames, I heart you, wood stove! (Even though you are resistant to drawing properly, and smoke up the house every time I light you up…)

One of my favourite camping activities has always been chopping wood for the nightly campfire. Why do I enjoy it so much? I think it makes me feel macho. Especially with my new axe!

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Check it out! I feel very manly indeed wielding this baby, and it causes my shoulders and back very manly pain.

(I was lucky to inherit a fully stocked woodshed when I bought this house, so I do more carrying than actual chopping.)

Two of my most prized Christmas presents this year:

new hatchet and wood carrier

new hatchet and wood carrier

And I am giddy with delight when dear old Dad is kind enough to give me –

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Kindling, o kindling!

Yes, everyone needs an obsession and mine is keeping the home fires burning.

Greek Goddess Hestia

For my money the Greek goddess Hestia – goddess of the hearth, architecture, and the right ordering of domesticity, the family and the state – had a pretty good gig. The only downside was that she had to stay at the hearth, and couldn’t go gallivanting about like the other Olympians. Which still sounds pretty good to me…

So I have whole-heartedly taken to this particlar aspect of rural living. At this time of year we have a fire going nearly every evening. And when there are still embers glowing, and all I have to do is blow on them and the flames spring up…

Magic!

Magic!

Fungallery

Our new place is fringed by woods, and our woods are, in a word, damp.
Sodden, really. Everything is thickly carpeted with moss and everywhere we go we find the most miraculous fungi.

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Quite possibly the work of fairies. They’d make lovely umbrellas and hats for the wee folk.

(Thinking of christening our new home Fungal Manor.)

Enthusiasm Trumps Technique

The big Jump Rope for Heart event at the school unleashed a mad frenzy of activity in the schoolyard…

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I just stood back and took in the scene, which was both epic and hilarious. The amount of actual, real skipping going on amongst those kids was minimal, but the wild abandon more than made up for that. Con mucho gusto…DSC07860 DSC07867

It’s all about the form…DSC07873

I’ve never seen someone cover so much ground while skipping.DSC07875 DSC07877 - Version 2 DSC07887 DSC07888

Another lesson from my life coach about doing things your own way. And having fun.

More Library Love

As a follow up to my Library Love post… This week I went along on a Grade 1 class tour of the new facility…

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kids in the driver’s seat of our “rolls royce” library!

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Isn’t this a lovely sight? Kids with books! Hooray!