Defies description

There are some places that seem to defy description and logic. I think we found one of them.

It started as a logging community and became a stop between major towns early on in the Western development of Vancouver Island. Now it just seems to be known for the eclectic mix of “stuff”.

My recollections, from the mid 70’s, was of a primitive wooden building with goats on the roof. I dimly recall ice cream and a tiny town on a backroad surrounded by trees.

Today Coombs has morphed into something, hm, quite unique. It still has the original house/store front. It is sadly vacant and appears a bit run down.

There are also a handful of other old buildings in this small settlement; two of them still in use. Grace United Church and the General Store.

Neither of these buildings are why people flock to Coombs. And trust me they flock on the Sunday of a long weekend. The old county market is what draws tourists in.

Locals, like my sister, only go early mid week morning. The grocery story and open air market is chock full of interesting items and great produce for good value. The buildings meander along and almost seem to be part of the landscape.

Except for when you realize there are goats on the roof. Apparently they aren’t there all the time but will always be out on long weekends. I don’t recall what the original story about them is all about but they are a tourist draw.

It was interesting to note the second the goats realized tourists were around with food they zipped to that part of the roof and quite grazing on the grass. They were looking for a handout for sure.

There were lineups everywhere. The pizzeria serves great food and is always booming apparently. It was hard to tell what the building originally was, or indeed if it was old or new, as I was fixated on this plant! The flowers were so gorgeous.

The opposite side of the old market lane has had a transformation and it’s a bit jarring. Gone are the old wood buildings and in its place is a new Italian Renaissance style long building. It houses the ice cream and involves a lot of glass and a huge deck. I did not take a picture of it because it didn’t fit the backwoods vibes of the place. Instead I took a photo from the patio, as we enjoyed our ice creams, of the original ice cream shack. Which now houses the donut shop but they had run out and were closed, much to the dismay of many tourists. I also skipped the photo of all the totally weird statues in the next little market area. The inside of that building, a 80’s era log structure, was full of teak carvings and a food stand. Outside it there were giraffes, elephants, Buddha’s of all shapes and sizes and dozens more “climbing” statues of an Asian theme. It seemed rather incongruous along side the old house beside it that displayed Rastafarian flags. It was randomly weird.

We went back to the more old original area and found the fairgrounds. I’ve heard about the local Coombs fair for a couple of decades as my sister had been very involved so we checked it out. Then we proceeded to see if the town, or perhaps it’s a village, had any houses and what vintage they would be. There was a steamboat (?) along the creek, which was way too tiny to have been the way this vessel was moved. There was no signs of the original railway tracks but we found a few houses on the side streets. The businesses alongside the highway have come and gone throughout the years but the market itself is still going strong.

Maybe, just because, it defies description.

Bernie

Not Black and White

It’s that time of year when I have “downtime” for philosophical thoughts. That’s what three hours of hauling water and watering trees allows for. Lots of alone time for thinking and Siri for dictation. Or maybe it’s that I’m a trauma nurse, I have a friend in a war zone right now and even locally, bad shit happens to good people. I try to make sense of it all; really to no avail because it seems that so much of life boils down to choices and chances. The road more travelled, the road less travelled. By the book or off the beaten track. Learning from our mistakes or being tied to them?

Take even our trees for example. If we had gone with the standard poplars we probably have a few more visual trees around the yard . They have that fluff which Ron is allergic to and they tend to die off in about 25 years. So we’ve gone with trees that are a lot more slow growing like green ash and Manitoba maple. Trees that incidentally seemed need a lot of water and the climate really has changed. Where did those rainy years go?

But extrapolate this to the bigger view of life about choices and chances. The crazy thing is that some of those chances and some of those choices aren’t even ours. Government policies, insurance companies, freak weather or strange events can all wreck incredible havoc with lives. Indeed even with life it self. One quick decision can have such far reaching consequences.

While the picture shows a cute black and white calf life isn’t that clear cut. One side one choice, opposite side opposite choice. Life is full of so many shades of grey. So many chances not taken or taken. You can’t erase the past and one hopes we can all learn from the it. Letting go and moving on is often very difficult.

Meanwhile the sun has set and its time to move along with other tasks. As usual though, I will choice to focus on the gratitude for my bounties.

Bernie

Location, location, location

This is what the real estate shows talk about endlessly. Location, location, location.

I was thinking about that today while I was outside for lunch in the Queen’s Garden at RUH. It’s such a sweet spot for lunch with plenty of sunshine and zero wind.

Which is why that location has peonies that are a foot tall and about to bloom while the irises have already bloomed.

I have a location that I love but man it’s a tough sell when it comes to plants. The wind is brutal in the winter and takes away the snow which leaves the plants exposed. Then when the plant finally grows the wind whips it like crazy. Add to that mix the fact that we can only water sporadically and you have a recipe for plants that must be hardy. They are, regularly, about 3 weeks behind city plants as this picture will prove. The first picture is of my one little piece of the peony that is popping up. The second photo is the irises which are just coming through last year’s growth. I cleaned it all up last week but despite the warm weather and the bit of rain they are just starting to show signs of growth.

The garden was tilled today while the raspberries were cleaned last weekend. They are all looking quite perky and filling in the holes in the patch quite nicely.

I’m extremely pleased to report that, as of today, there is finally some new growth of both the rhubarb and the asparagus. It seems like they are on a 10 year get established plan. It’s been 4 years and we’ve yet to take more than half a dozen stocks off the rhubarb in one year while not a single asparagus spear has graced our mouths. We live in hope every year!

The location is what drew us here. We knew that homesteading a yard wasn’t easy or quick. We will see trees that eventually provide some wind break. The down side to that is they will be in the way of this stunning evening view!

Location, location, location. I love it!

Bernie

Lost and Found

I’ve been so busy writing for my volunteer life that I’ve had no time to write for pleasure. It’s way more fun when no one edits what you write!

Today I’d like to write about what a fabulous job the Continue reading

Cape Spear

We’ve now been to the most eastern spot in North America. Trust me that it was a lot warmer when we were on the most western tip of Europe! Portugal in the spring isn’t quite like Newfoundland in the same season! Continue reading

Meandering

I can’t find that illusive opening paragraph that draws the reader in so perhaps I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. Continue reading

Report Card 1

Report card day was never my favourite day as I never really had an idea what the teacher or the exam results would say. Then of course add in the fact that I failed one of my five final nursing exams. Makes sense why report card day brings a sense of trepidation to me.

So why would I Continue reading

Fingers crossed

I may have jinxed myself with yesterday’s post about first time out and things turning out exceptionally well.

Today I’m also trying something for the first time and feeding the results to friends! Hence the fingers crossed! I don’t have a plan B for supper so let’s hope.

The story begins a couple of years ago when my friend’s dad gave us some beans. He grows them and then dries them and shells them out. So this year I planted some of his and after we ate them fresh and green I let the plants continue. I pulled, dried and finally shelled them in a post called Side tracked

They’ve been patiently waiting for me to remember to soak them on a weekend night and have the day for them to simmer. First I checked with my mom for a recipe but it turns out that’s doctored up canned beans was the norm although she did hand write out a receipe for her granddaughter’s shower gift. I then turned to my two favourite on line sites only to find out they both used canned beans to create their baked beans.

So I just picked the first three hits, read the reviews, picked one (Genius kitchen which I’ve used before) and set about making it. They have to soak overnight in cold water; the next morning they are boiled in clean water for 10 minutes. While they were simmering on the stove I made the sauce for them; a modification here and there like less sugar and a jalapeno. Then I put them in the oven and walked away for several hours. We did have to adjust fluid levels a few times but I am happy to report they were cooked after 6 hours and the sauce was absolutely spot on!

So first time lucky but it sure won’t be the last time we have them. It takes pre planning but it is neither hard nor complex just time consuming for the cooking part. It was a casual meal for sure but paired with good friends and lively conversation and a brew it went down well.

Bernie