Category Archives: Wildlife

Camping With Typewriter

We had 5 days out camping around Southern Vancouver Island. On day 1, before we got to out first destination we stopped for lunch then went to a thrift store nearby, where I bought a typewriter for $10. I hadn’t thought to bring one along with me, but this seemed like an omen. If it wasn’t for that I would not have written these two poems. I present their edited versions, and some pictures. We had a variety of geography on this voyage, from the ocean to a lake to the alpine zone. Lucky for us to live so close to all this!

Underwood 378 – $10 cheap!

First stop was an ocean-side camp at a rocky beach called French Beach. We camped in the forest of tall trees, and rode our bikes down the road to the beach where we swam in the frigid water in wet-suits. This was on the Juan de Fuca Strait, looking across at Washington and the Olympic Mountains.

French Beach

Ocean Beach Summer Night

Briefly a rush of truck tires from the road nearby
Then a softer sigh, we look to the sky
A raven so black whooshes through the air
Voyaging from perch to perch in treetop bare
Campers pass soundlessly with dogs
None barking, quiet like beach logs
Tiny flies flit there and here
End up dead in our beer
We pick them out and drink up
We have no fear

Next to us the water tap and garbage bins
Two outhouses, one women’s, one men’s
Through the trees waves endlessly pound rocks
Where earlier we stood without socks
Watched them rolling thunderously, splash
Sometimes offset, sometimes one great crash

A zipper dumping energy like a long liquid spear
Which makes its mark and instantly disappears
To reappear in the following frame
Tag for the ocean is a favorite game
Any hour may bring change
Fast, unpredictable as a sneeze
But tonight there is a warm breeze
And the happy waves play without fights
Like children do on summer nights

djn
August 28 2017
French Beach, BC

Up the road a ways we camped on another coast, beside the air force. Jets and big choppers were flying around. We were on the inland waters, looking eastward into the endless mountain ranges of British Columbia. Some of the most inaccessible territory on the planet, yet so close by. There are no roads north from there, no “civilization” for hundred of miles, only countless square miles of forest and mountains.

Kin Beach

The Force Is With Us

Roaring jets remind us how
Beside this camp an air force lurks
Ever ready to strike if called
Who or what we don’t ask
Sitting in this field of grass

Writing, reading as the sun sets
another long day in the car
another camping meal enjoyed
chirping crickets and songs of birds
announce the end of their day
chirping and hunting for prey

the road gets longer year by year
how long it seemed to get here
travelling is not so easily done
a short trip is as hard as a long one
or are we weary from the sun?

still, we do enjoy these camps
discovering new places like tramps
later we remember them again
forgetting how we endured pain
remembering sunshine forgetting rain

fondly recalling pleasures from simple things
reading by lantern light and optical illusions
playing cards against a chain link fence
warm nights and stars, noises from cars
snuggling into a narrow bed, banging your head

tired and dirty we are now
in a day or two we’ll have forgotten how
we walked across a field before bed
felt the cold descending, instead
sitting inside on comfortable chairs
do the wash, arrange socks in pairs
go upstairs to bed, turn on a light
lie inside the covers, say goodnight
set the alarm, close our eyes
sleep to be awoken by surprise

djn
August 30 2017
Kin Beach, Comox, BC

From here we made a day trip to hike in alpine meadows. Driving from the beach we looked ahead across the valley to a huge glacier on top of the mountain. Once in the alpine we walked through a pristine wilderness of forests, lakes and meadows full of berries and flowers. Then a rescue helicopter arrived to help an older lady who was backing up to take a picture and fell off the boardwalk, breaking something in her shoulder. A strange sight to see a chopper setting down between tall trees into a tiny clearing.

1 Comment

Filed under Great Hikes, Photography, Poetry, Thrift shop finds, Travel, Typewriters, Wildlife

Canada 150

canada day 2017004 (2)

What a great day, and more to come later! Canoe rides, hot dogs, ice cream, music, old cars, frogs, typewriters… It all began last night at the thrift store with a rare typewriter.

IMG_0802-001

This is not one that gets much publicity in my experience, but wow, what a great machine! This is seriously up there with the modern hall of famers like the SM3, SC SS5, H3K, and what have you. I don’t know what to call it, any suggestions? TGE perhaps?

I even weighed it because it felt so light: 5kg, or exactly 11 lbs. The case is made of super thin cast aluminum or something, and the machine feels featherweight for one of its size. It has carriage shift, but it’s relatively light and speedy. The tab function is amazing, as it moves rather slowly, not with the usual sudden zip-thunk of most machines, even ultra good ones.

The platen is still soft! At first I thought it looked like one of the SM3 cases, but it’s made of lightweight plastic, and has a removable base plate. There were several minor issues; the whole innards were full of tiny white correction specks, which I brushed and vacuumed up for the most part. A soft round pointy paint brush did the trick. Then there was the poor paper feeding. I couldn’t see what was the matter, so I thought I’d fiddle with the platen to see how simple it was to remove and I could look at the pinch rolls. To my delight the platen comes off in 30 seconds flat, simply by unscrewing each end knob. Stuck to the surface of the pinch roll tray was the answer – an old sticky label that fell in there and adhered itself to some rolls. I cleaned it off and reassembled things to find that all works perfectly well again. Maybe some unfortunate PO had so much trouble with this they decided to give this away, but this is pure speculation. There are no repairmen left in this town though, so it’s strictly DIY here.

IMGP6715

More pictures below, after this poem and a frog.

IMGP6701

canada day 2017001

Here are a few more pics of the TW. I should mention the keyboard – I think it’s Dutch. But it is QWERTY! How lucky is that?

IMGP6718

1 Comment

Filed under Painting, Poetry, Sketching, Typewriters, Wildlife

Baby Hummingbirds Feeding

March 24, 2017

1.30 pm – back at the nest waiting for the mother hummingbird. Got the 500mm lens on the camera now. Checked my focus and exposure ten times. Been here 5 minutes. Saw hummingbirds flying here and there but not near the nest. When I arrived I saw a squirrel heading down the trunk of the tree. Did it find the nest? I suppose not, as the nest is intact. Much chirping in the area.

Waiting… waiting… saw two Hairy Woodpeckers and a Red Tailed Hawk. People pass by on the trail, but I just sit here. No one sees the nest, and I don’t point my camera at it.

1.50 pm – the mother has to come soon. How long can she stay away feeding herself? Hold on, she’s over there on a branch. I blink and she’s gone again. Where did she go? She’s on the nest! I missed her fly 15 feet in a blink. Camera up, start clicking.

mother arrives

feed baby #1

baby #1 fed, check around

time for #2 next

feeding baby #2

done and gone in a second

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Birds, Photography, Wildlife

Equinoctial Photographic Magazine

Today on the trail I met two chaps observing something through a huge 3′ telescopic lens. I stopped to chat, curious about what they were looking at. It was a hummingbird nest.

hummingbird nest

I looked but didn’t see it at first, thinking it must have been 100 feet away. But it wasn’t – it was close at hand right on top of a bare branch, exposed to the weather. The mother returned and flitted around for a minute or so before a lighting on the branch, whereupon she began feeding the babies. I could see wide open tiny yellowish beaks from where I stood, but there was no sound. The big camera began clicking away and I didn’t want to horn in while watching, so I waited until many pictures had been taken then raised my own camera and focused on the mother. She stopped feeding, looked up and flew away. I did get one picture of her, however.

hummingbird and nest

Not far from there I saw a squirrel lying unusually still.

squirrel at rest

The field nearby is full of daffodils.

daffodils

Going through the pictures from the last month I was struck by how much the weather has changed. In February we had plenty of snow.

Today when the sun came out it seemed like winter was long gone. Three days ago I saw a turtle, sunning.

People here are saying spring is a month later than normal.

red tailed hawk

flicker ground feeding

one of the “wild” cats that hang out in the park

a mouse, after the owl ate it

crocuses

hooded merganser

blue bug on the window

6 Comments

Filed under Birds, Photography, Wildlife

Solstice Greetings

2-imgp5824-001

peanuts tree

Winter solstice is here, now the days will begin to get longer, even though the winter has just begun. That is some comfort! Here are a few scenes of winter, if you could even call it winter here, which is a joke to many who must contend with snow, ice and frozen snot-cicles. I count myself fortunate that I no longer suffer from those, and yet my hands still get cold! Such suffering! I got a pair of bum glove/mitts for that, with a mitten that flaps over the open glove fingers, thus allowing the use of a camera without exposing one’s entire hand to the frigid air.

My Annual Christmas Poem

Winter rain turns into snow
Off to the clothing shop I go
Tables piled high with ware
Jackets, scarves and warm hats there
Gloves and mittens for my hands
Flannel shirts from foreign lands
Shop clerk sporting Santa hat
Offers help with this and that
But my needs are few so I
Quickly pass all those things by
What I need hangs on the wall
Ten feet wide by six feet tall
Dangling folded up on hooks
Many sizes, colours, looks
Christmas day inside a box
Can you guess? Grey wool socks!

1-imgp5822

horse in woolys

5-imgp5843-001

there was ice, briefly – puzzling the ducks

random acts of Xmas decoration in the forest

random acts of Xmas decoration in the forest

the nutcracker found this mesmerizing

the nutcracker found this mesmerizing

only in winter do we get Hooded Mergansers

only in winter do we get Hooded Mergansers

Leave a comment

Filed under Birds, Photography, Poetry, Wildlife

Daily Six Pack

That arctic outflow has us in its grip, but only very loosely. Temperatures hover around the freezing mark, leaving icy patches about but also wet places where the sun shines for a while. On the lake the water level must rise at night, evidenced by the suspended ice plates I often see on days like this.

7-imgp5748

With brilliant sun and cold we seem to get more birds. This Barred Owl was sitting directly above the path,  unperturbed by my attention, swiveling his head as I circled round to get a better angle. He  was still there when I returned an hour later, but another photographer had taken my place and no doubt filled his memory card with owl pictures.

8-imgp5744

Across the floating bridge there were the usual crowd of Mallards and this lonely Hooded Merganser.

6-imgp5750

Across the lake I had a brief look at this Cooper’s Hawk before it split in a hurry. Maybe it was hungry. They don’t sit still for long.

1-imgp5775

The lake has flooded the surrounding lowlands and in a seasonal slough behind the ring of bush that borders the lake I saw a large flock of ducks and geese. I walked through the closely cropped grass past a gaggle of grazing Canada Geese to get a closer look. Quite suddenly the flock erupted and headed to the air.

3-imgp5800

On the return leg a Bewick’s Wren was picking at the bark of a tree.

5-imgp5809

The last bird I saw was this one, a male House Finch.

4-imgp5812

Leave a comment

Filed under Birds, Photography, Wildlife

Three of a Kind

1-document-8

6-imgp5639

2-document-9

4-imgp5653

3-document-10

2-imgp5674

A few more for your viewing pleasure:

2 Comments

Filed under Birds, Photography, Poetry, Wildlife

Strolling in the Park

12-imgp5566

Today in the park, I saw some new wildlife at long last. I can’t fathom why the past month or so has seemed so utterly barren of birds out there. But today all seems suddenly better. There was a Great Blue Heron preening as I walked out onto the floating bridge. Then a Cormorant came along.

13-imgp5568

Nothing exciting, I carried on to a bridge over the creek that flows out of the lake.

1-imgp5570

Then I spied the Hawk in a tree. Haha! It was back. I stepped off the path and took a picture with the long lens, then hurried forward. By the time I reached the tree in question the hawk was up circling.

11-imgp5571

Nearby I saw a Cat on the path.

09-imgp5576

I carried on, and came to a Spider that had just strung a line of web across the path. It must have just done so as only minutes prior several runners came along from that direction, and the web was at chest height.

02-imgp5581

Further walking and I detected a soft squeaking noise Looking up I saw a Woodpecker excavating a deep hole in a dead branch. It went right inside and came out with a beak full of wood fibre.

01-imgp5592

Carrying on I saw another Cat in the field, and it seemed to be waiting for a Mouse to come along.

05-imgp5597

Not far beyond I came to a man holding a Snake he’d found beside the creek. He was looking down at another Snake in the leaves. He told me that he’d seen a Barred Owl yesterday. So they are here, but I haven’t seen them yet.

06-imgp5599

Besides this there were numerous Towhees, Tits, Sparrows, Robins, Gulls and Squirrels black and grey. Also a man taking pictures, and another one shoveling wood chips from a pile into a wheelbarrow.

Now I must to my typewriter to write my daily words for NaNoWriMo. I’ve done it 5 times already, so it’s a habit now. This year I’m trying something different, a memoir… if only I could remember everything.

2 Comments

Filed under Birds, Photography, Wildlife

Winter Cometh

THE WOOLLY BEAR

THE WOOLLY BEAR

1-document-5

 

It has been a lean October for birds. Neither hawk nor owl nor woodpecker to be seen, but banded woolly bears are here. Not real bears, mind you. Circumnavigations of the lake provide numerous encounters with slow moving fuzzy caterpillars. A Google image search turned up only that this picture was of an invertebrate.

1-fullscreen-capture-30102016-103208-am

However, a search on the words “fuzzy brown and black caterpillar” turned up exactly what it was:

Pyrrharctia isabella

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Isabella tiger moth
Pyrrharctia isabella – Isabella Tiger Moth (14842796231).jpg
Adult
Pyrrharctia isabella - Caterpillar - Devonian Fossil Gorge - Iowa City - 2014-10-15 - image 1.jpg
Woolly Bear caterpillar
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Tribe: Arctiini
Genus: Pyrrharctia
Species: P. isabella
Binomial name
Pyrrharctia isabella
(JE Smith, 1797)
Synonyms
  • Phalaena isabella Smith, 1797
  • Pyrrharctia californica Packard, 1864

Pyrrharctia isabella (Isabella tiger moth) can be found in many cold regions, including the Arctic [needs citation]. The banded woolly bear larva emerges from the egg in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form, when it freezes solid. It survives being frozen by producing a cryoprotectant in its tissues. In the spring it thaws out and emerges to pupate. Once it emerges from its pupa as a moth it has only days to find a mate.

In most temperate climates, caterpillars become moths within months of hatching, but in the Arctic the summer period for vegetative growth – and hence feeding – is so short that the Woolly Bear must feed for several summers, freezing again each winter before finally pupating. Some are known to live through as many as 14 winters.[1]

 

1 Comment

Filed under Photography, Poetry, Wildlife

On Tour Sketchbook

We just did the fairly annual week of the Juan de Fuca Festival in Port Angeles, followed by a few days off camping.

Leroy Bell

Leroy Bell

The festival was great this year; we saw many amazing acts, like Leroy Bell here, an amazing songwriter and singer.

wide beaches here

wide beaches

Then we headed off to the wild Pacific coast to camp.

did I mention you can drive on this beach?

did I mention you can drive on this beach?

June is never particularly warm around here, but we lucked out for a few days with lots of sunshine. I swam in Lake Quinault, which was freezing cold, but after a while I just went numb to it and it was wonderful.

Lake Quinalt

Lake Quinault

There weren’t any good typewriters in the few antique shops I found, but there was an interesting old LC Smith on display in Olympic Stationers in P.A.

LC Smith with right hand return lever

LC Smith with right hand return lever

When it isn’t raining the beaches are wonderful.

famous weird tree

famous weird tree at Kalaloch

interesting heap of debris

interesting heap of debris

sandpipers

sandpipers

We always love to see restored vintage camp trailers like this one, an old Shasta.

Shasta trailer

Shasta trailer

Saw a lovely butterfly, too.

DSCN3310

I regret not doing more sketching, but with driving, cooking & eating, sleeping late and general laziness I only had time for a few watercolours.

village scene

village scene

windmills from the beach

windmills from the beach

closed but rumoured to be going to open again this year

closed but rumoured to be going to open again this year

Coho ferry arrives to bring us home

Coho ferry arrives to bring us home

Leave a comment

Filed under Painting, Photography, Sketching, Travel, Typewriters, VW Vans, Wildlife