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

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

Happenstance

I remember once, when I was about 13 or 14, flying to Vancouver Island with my mom. We saw people she knew in Calgary and Vancouver. I was like “what the heck?”; we lived in a small farming community so how could my mom know so many people?

Fast forward to my kids going anywhere with me when they were teenagers. It kind of drove them a bit crazy that I would find people whom I knew to stop and visit with.

Flying thousand of miles away should probably have prevented that. Or so you Continue reading

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Today’s fences are unique to me although they may be Continue reading

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The background story goes like this Continue reading

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