Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 15th last year......

As I sit here at my computer desk on March 15th of this year, having watched the mountain visible out of my window slowly disappear behind a wall of white, and I've watched the thermometer fall steadily for the past hour and the rain that started about the same time switch over to almost snow and then back again, I wonder if the snowfall warning that has been issued will be justified and wait for the wind warning to materialize and turn my thoughts back to this day last year.
When we were still in the Parksville area having visited one daughter and partaken of one of her excellent meals (she is a far better cook than her mother). We'd spent some time at some of our old stomping grounds. The Coomb's Market for one (better known at the place with the goats on the roof). I think it took moving to realize what an incredible place the Coombs Market is as we've never been able to find anything quite like it over here on the mainland. The market belongs to the 'locals' in the off season but most locals avoid it during tourist season. The market sold local organic foods long before it was trendy to do so. In fact we used to sell eggs from our Aracana Chickens to the market. Aracana are a South American breed of chicken that lay eggs that have a robins egg blue colored shell - their eggs don't taste any different than any other healthy free range egg - but people, especially tourists, couldn't get enough of them. We didn't make a habit of naming our chickens, but our Aracana rooster who happened to be a Grand Champion, had free range of our hobby farm and was named 'Vultura' - mainly because his favorite perch was atop the arch that held the gate entrance to the fenced front yard garden, looking much like a vulture. He had a 'reserve grand champion' wife amongst his little harem. The Aracana were the only full size breed chicken we had as we specialized in fancy bantams. My husband loved his fluffy little Cochin and I adored my fancy 'Japenese' - in fact I loved all my bantams and miss them dearly. Our only other named chicken was a little Barred Rock Bantie whom we called 'Henny Penny'. The dining area in our house had floor to ceiling windows and as we always had our doors and windows open and we lived in the country, in the summer, flies would sometimes come in and be on these windows, Henny Penny loved to come inside and stand in the window and catch the flies, she never went anywhere else in the house and amazingly, she never left any calling cards in the house. Hopefully as cities come to their senses and become 'greener' and realize the advantage of allowing backyard chickens, banties will make a come back. But I digress......

We also visited the town of Qualicum Beach that despite having grown considerably in the 15 years since we left the island, has still retained it's quaint charm. We visited one of our favorite gift/book/garden shop and weren't disappointed as we found an unusual mirror for our bathroom made of wrought iron and wood with shorebirds all around it.

After a successful shopping trip we headed down to the beach and were amazed by the scenes below.

All those black specks were ducks. Thousands and thousands of ducks. All 3 kinds of Scoters (Black, Surf and White Wing), Mergansers and Common Goldeneye. This mass of ducks stretched from one side of the large bay to the other. We parked near the concession stand and bought some of their fantastic fish and chips for lunch and just sat in the car and marvelled at the wealth of bird life out there as we enjoyed this treat.
and now today, once more the precipitation is becoming more 'white' than 'wet'.....

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