Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reflecting on a paddle.

I went for a lovey paddle at Shubie Park yesterday in my new kayak.  I know, I know, I already have two kayaks.

But, I wanted a kayak that would fit in my car with the hatch closed, and didn't weigh much.  At seven and a half feet long, and only 25 pounds my new "Pelican" kayak fits the bill.  And best of all, I got it on sale at Canadian Tire for only $209 !

Not suited to choppy water or the open ocean, my lil' kayak is super for just drifting through quiet places and seeing things close up.

I "think| this is the shed skin shell, of a Dragon Fly nymph.

Because it doesn't have a rudder I can float through masses of plants without getting hung up.

And it allows me to get close to the cutest of critters without startling them.

Sorry.  I should have given you an excess-cuteness warning prior to that last photo.  The lil' guy stood up and was flapping his stubby, non-existent wings with such confidence.  Sooo friggin' cute !

Not long after, whilst sitting, minding my own business, I noticed movement coming toward me.  I "think" it was a Muskrat.  He wasn't even startled by my being there.  It was as if he sees big BLUE logs every day and he paddled past unperturbed.

I spent a lot of time just enjoying the quiet; savouring the scent of the wetness and watching the way my paddle made ripples that curved the reflections of the reeds.

Do you see writing in the reflection too  ?
Is she balancing on an Alligator's head ?

Is that a monster walking by ?

You're welcome to join me some time. 
Heaven knows, I now have enough kayaks to start my own paddling club !

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Take two dogs and call me in the morning ...

I've been feeling a tad glum lately.

No good reason.  First World problems or perceived problems ...or a slight drop in some level of chemical in my brain.

I cannot imagine what life is like for someone who daily suffers from the draining, bleakness of crippling, depression.

Why do we feel we must be happy all the time ?   If we did feel happy all the time, would we need more and more "happy" to keep feeling the same level of happiness ?

Do our sad times help us to appreciate the happy times ?

 When I feel "blue", I don't feel motivated to do anything, and I know that that lack of motivation then feeds on itself.   I become more tired and feel less motivated to get outside : to DO anything.

BUT the dogs need to go for walks ... and so we head out into the fog.

and we go for a walk and I take the photos that you see on this page today.

I get outside of my head for a bit.

I look at droplets,

and flowers,

and flowers with insects on them.

I wander along the rocks, occasionally looking at interesting sticks, or shells, or rusted bits of detritus.

And of course I throw the ball for Wendy -- my GOOD "black dog".

And I watch as Sooki stands chest deep in the water, considering whether she should swim out to catch that Seagull that bobs so far off-shore.

And I smile.

Time to head home and play with Trey in the yard.

Then I'll sit down and share all this with you, and ask you how you cope when you feel sad ?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I should have known better.

Yesterday Trey and I paddled back over to Lawlor's Island.

Once there I dragged the kayak up the shore and threw the ball for Trey to help him get rid of his bad case of the "sillies", as he'd whined and wiggled the whole way across.  I had had to keep telling him to: "LIE DOWN !!!".

Then we headed into the island's interior to seek out the ruins again.

On Canada Day when I found located the fallen water tower for the first time, I was soooo disappointed when the batteries in my camera crapped out and I couldn't share photos of my find.

This time I found some ruins that I'd not seen before.  This is the "Winter Hospital".

All told, Trey and I slogged our way over and around that island for over four hours.

We walked the interior of the island from the Cemetery (left end) to the Winter Hospital near the "Sand Flat".  

We then walked back along the shore to the site of the original "Deep Water Wharf".

Site of the original Deep Water Wharf and the Disinfection Units.

Disinfection unit.

Massive door hinge on the Unit.
I lingered to admire a Cormorant drying its wings on the remnants of the wharf.

We just had to walk around the point and we should see the kayak.

And we did.

See it there ?

Floating gently in the harbour !   WHAT ?   FLOATING GENTLY IN THE FRIKKIN' HARBOUR !?!

And there is Trey's life jacket bobbing near the shore and floating nearby -- my paddle !

My life jack, with my car keys in the pocket is in the kayak.

I know, I know -- I'm an idiot !  

I wadded out and grabbed the kayak.  Unfortunately I had to put the sodden, cold life jacket on poor ol' Trey.

He was NOT amused !

You can bet I'll be dragging my kayak above the high water mark in future.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The broom outside my door ...

An old-fashioned straw broom stands outside my front door, next to the recycling containers and the bowl of dog toys.

However I don't think I'll  be using it for a few days as it has been commandeered for another purpose.

Hundreds (nay, perhaps THOUSANDS) of teeny, tiny, eensy, weensy, baby, Yellow Garden Spiders are using my broom as a nursery.

They cluster together (for warmth ? security ? comfort ? ) until some jerk human gently blows on them...

and then they scatter as fast as their microscopic legs will allow.

Some of them run an inch.  Some run as much as two or three inches, before,  like "drones" separated from the Borg collective, they feel drawn back to re-join their little cluster.

But rather than being  "Seven of nine", our little wayward drone,  might be "237 of 460",  as egg sacs can contain up to 1,200 eggs.

 I can't imagine the logistics involved in planning their family reunions !

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Canada Day Adventure

I've decided that I want to get out paddling much more this year.

Lawlor's Island which lies tantalizingly close off the shore of Eastern Passage is an easy target for my kayak as it's a 10 minute paddle away.

Paddling is a bit of a challenge with the excitable, antsy Trey positioned between by knees, peering this way and that and crying harder and harder as we near land.  Needless to say, both of us always wear life jackets.

Eastern Passage is to the left.  Safely beached on Lawlor's.
What excites me, about Lawlor's, is its unique and well-documented history as a quarantine station, complete with deep-water wharf, two hospitals, a disinfection unit, three different buildings for 1st, 2nd and 3rd class passengers, several residences, a doctor's house, a small cemetery and a massive elevated water tank and cistern.  

To see the island now you would have no idea of it's storied past. All that remains of the massive wharf are a few posts protruding from the water.  All the buildings have crumbled and their foundations lie hidden under the jumbles of trees felled by Hurricane Juan in 2003.

On a previous visit last summer, I found the small cemetery with few marked graves but many more bodies, on the fern-covered north (?) end of the island.

Rather than following the shore, Trey and I headed inland.

Sadly I had not brought my decent camera, and most pictures I took are already in my computer's "recycle" bin.

Sometimes the going was very tough as much of the interior of the island is covered with dead-fall. The ruins of a wall can just barely be glimpsed behind those dead trees.

After three hours on the island -- yes, I brought water, and wore sunscreen, but forgot bug spray -- I stumbled across the foundations of several buildings, a cistern and a massive fallen water tower.  The latter looked like the rusted hulk of a Saturn Rocket lying prone across the forest floor. Sadly the pics of the tower are among those not fit for print.

The Cistern (?)

Rails up the side f the round structure.

I "think" this is the base of the fallen metal tower.

I climbed that ladder to take this pic looking down into the structure.  How kewl is that !

At one point Trey came barreling along carrying his ball and leapt over a wall (see below), not realizing that the ground was NOT at the same height on both sides.  He yelped as he crash-landed, and I briefly worroied about how on earth I was going to carry a dog with a broken leg out of there.  He then leapt back out as if nothing had happened.

I enjoyed exploring the island and am eager to go back with a decent camera ... and bug spray.

Trey walking along a fallen tree.  The forest floor is about two feet below him.


If you're interested in learning more about Lawlor's Island, this is the definitive book on the subject.

Click here for more and better images from a recent survey of the island by a researcher from Pier 21 in Halifax.