Sunday, 19 June 2016

The 55 Days of Crazy, Part 2

From pot to plate #1

One advantage of having family that possesses a crabbing licence is the likelihood of a fresh-trapped meal. Within 30 minutes of leaving the water, these big boys were in my cousin's sink, struggling in vain to get out.

From pot to plate #2

Yes, Weapons of Crab Destruction (i.e., a hammer and pliers) were used effectively to dispatch them humanely, although I was fascinated by how long the pincers kept trying to attack my cousin (the official crab killer in our family), after she removed the carapace and even separated the two sides of legs.

It was my job to steam them up, and then rinse thoroughly with cold water to arrest any further cooking before they made an appearance at our dinner table, complete with chilled wines and ciders.

Three people, with three large crabs, made for a hearty meal with a lot of leftovers, some of which I used to make up a big sandwich to take on the plane with me when I flew to southwestern Ontario for a few days.

Herd of turtles

Ostensibly, I was there in both relational (the family reunion of my wee mannie) and professional (the designated "official photographer" of same) capacities, although, as usual, I managed to get over to the local millpond to see what changes had happened in the 20 months since I had been there last. It was a hot afternoon the second trip I made there (the first was on a cold, windy day, and I left the camera in the car), and I was grateful the resident turtles were sunning themselves on one of their regular tree perches.

Keeping in line

The morning I left, I made one last stop, and discovered this Canada goose family.

And then it was time to hit the 401, drive to Paris for lunch, Kitchener to gas up the car, and get to the airport in good order for my packed flight, complete with screaming babies, back home. Although I watched the last game of the Stanley Cup finals, I had this as my earworm.

The week back in Calgary has been filled with cooking, cleaning, creativity, and the most wonderful gift of all: a 90-minute coffee break with a good friend on Friday morning. Tomorrow, I launch myself into three weeks that will open up a new world of my artistic practice and my life in general.

Stay tuned.

The 55 Days of Crazy, Part 1

Beach walk #7

I've known for a few months that from mid-May to mid-July was going to be pretty busy, and as I now find myself halfway through, I've had a couple of days at home to reflect on the first stretch, which involved a lot of travelling, and plan for the next, which will be much more introspective, although equally exciting and exhausting.

One of the best parts of travelling, for me, is being able to take my camera and just go wandering off whenever possible: all the photographs in this post and in Part 2 are from those opportunities.

I flew out to Vancouver on May 24, and the only item on my agenda when I booked my ticket was to be the judge for the Lower Mainland Sheep Producers Association fleece show the following Saturday. Of course, as "luck" would have it, that was the one really cold, wet, and windy day, and we (the secretary, volunteer teams of fleece handlers, the scribe, and yours truly) got quite chilled. Thankfully, we were able to take frequent breaks to warm up with hot food and beverages, which at least made the day bearable.

Of course, the next day, it was gloriously sunny and warm, so I set off to White Rock, near the U.S.-Canada border, to walk the beach when the tide was out.

Beach walk #11

As I was about to turn around and retrace my steps back to my temporary home, I spotted this bald eagle, calmly surveying Peace Arch Park and the U.S. Customs area, but staying on this side of the line: I found that tremendously humourous, for some strange reason.

Last leg

Two days later, I took a "milk-run" ferry from Tsawwassen to Long Harbour, on Saltspring Island (the photo above is from the last leg of that journey, from Otter Bay on North Pender Island), then two shuttle busses to Vesuvius, and another ferry to Crofton on Vancouver Island to meet up with a friend from university days for a few days of touring some of the local wineries and craft distilleries, and having as much regional cuisine as humanly possible.

Life list

We also toured a few attractions, particularly the Kinsol Trestle, which was stunning in its size and complexity of construction. It was there I added another bird to my life list: the dark-eyed junco (Júnco hyemális), Oregon race.

The weather was warm, but fairly cloudy, and a few brief rainshowers made the timber path a little slick, but when the sun emerged, it was magical.


By week's end, it was time to head back to Vancouver for a dinner with high school friends, the opportunity to eat even more fresh seafood, and to prepare for the next leg of the voyage.

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