A whale of a shift in seasons on the West Coast

Blackberries, figs, grey and humpback whales, and spawning salmon all herald the arrival of autumn

A whale of a shift in seasons on the West CoastAs August turns the corner to September, some notable and familiar signs of change occur at Skelhp, which is known as “The place where the ancients dropped down from the heavens and taught us how to make canoe paddles out of yew wood.” The blackberries that have been thriving over the past three weeks start…

Remembering the legacy of B.C. horse racing icon Richard Yates

Notes and quotes from Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver

Remembering the legacy of B.C. horse racing icon Richard YatesOwner, trainer and breeder Richard Yates was a go-to guy when it came to horse racing. Among his many achievements, he was extremely proud of the Hastings Racing Club in Vancouver that he helped form in 2015. On March 22, the racing community was hit by the sad news of Yates’s death from a massive…

Spring semester begins at Skelhp

Some familiar buzzes, croaks and tweets and a new cat-like cry as the turning of the seasons teaches anew

Spring semester begins at SkelhpMy British Museum 2019 Diary proclaims the vernal equinox arrived on March 20 this year, with a cryptic little note: “Spring begins.” At Skelhp, we already knew. In fact, I think spring began on Sunday, March 10, when we descended artfully on the deer-fenced garden with pruning clippers to shape some apple and cherry trees.…

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry

The Canadian response to being stranded for 11 hours on a BC ferry? Free food, cheers and applause!

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry“Please be advised that the next sailing from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay has been delayed by at least four hours. Those passengers wishing instead to return to Powell River, please pull over to the right-hand side as you exit the ferry, and you will be guaranteed a return trip. …” “Hmmmmm. What’s that all about?”…

You never really know what’s following you until it snows

I’ve adjusted my solo walk schedule and try to be alert to the possibility that a cougar is lurking

You never really know what’s following you until it snowsWe joke in our family about my living a city-mouse/country-mouse existence. Part of the time, I live in a 600-square-foot Vancouver condo and part of the time I live with the land at Skelhp on the Sunshine coast. In Vancouver, I’m visually connected to pigeons, seagulls, and the 4 p.m. return flight of northwestern crows,…

We’ll be warm for the winter, thanks to the Wood Camp boys

The camaraderie of splitting and stacking your winter wood with pals, and the payoff through the cold months

We’ll be warm for the winter, thanks to the Wood Camp boysDo you still burn wood in a fireplace? For most of us, fireplaces are becoming ornamental. We heat homes with natural gas flares emitted from faux metal logs, or carefully machined wood pellets bought in bags at Canadian Tire or plastic-wrapped bundles of kindling and fire logs purchased at gas stations for $9.99. The whole…

Swinging and sipping in the South Okanagan

In the Osoyoos region, there’s an authentic, unpretentious aura that’s impossible not to appreciate

Swinging and sipping in the South OkanaganThe sting of a messy double-bogey on the first hole at the Osoyoos Golf Club doesn't last long. After traipsing up to the second tee, I grab my big bad driver and survey the scene. Below me a sweet, serpentine fairway careens toward a beautiful sand-guarded green that hangs high above the lake. In all…

‘There’s a bat in the house!’

Falling asleep with bat gear ready, you don't know what to expect. You just have that Boy Scout sense that you’re prepared

‘There’s a bat in the house!’“There’s a bat in the house!” shouted our daughter, fresh off the plane from London, just as she was preparing for a restful night in her parents’ country house. My wife and I were prepared, to tell the truth. The previous night we had heard the telltale swish of batwings in our bedroom and in…

Adrift and perilously close to abandoning ship

After more than a little high-seas misadventure, the Frankie finally proves seaworthy – and sanitary

Adrift and perilously close to abandoning shipBack in 2012, we had a dreamboat, an 18-foot Hourston Glascraft. It was brand-new, had a magnificent 150-horsepower Yamaha four-stroke outboard, and quickly became the envy of the Skelhp government wharf. We paid monthly wharfage dues all summer and used it to fish and cruise. We christened her the Francine, after my then 90-year-old Mom.…

Powell River celebrates its progressive roots

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to be performed at PRISMA. In 1913, the ballet unleashed a mad torrent of modernity on the members of Parisienne high society

Powell River celebrates its progressive rootsOn the May 29, 1913, the Paris premiere of The Rite of Spring took place at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. The Russian ballet’s choreographer was Vaslav Nijinsky and the symphony’s composer was Igor Stravinsky. Together that night, almost exactly 105 years ago, they unleashed a mad torrent of modernity on the members of Parisienne high…