The hosts come back tomorrow morning :(
We spent the afternoon cleaning and putting things back where they belong (like the sofa we had moved in front of the pc for watching you tube). I'm all antsy about going somewhere new. Thursday morning we head to Galiano island for a fortnight, then we're off up north again to Quadra island for a fortnight. I'm ready for a change form being here, so that will be good, and the next people are supposed to be vegetarian. Fingers crossed.
Wifi may well be scarce for the next month. We're finishing with a few days in an eco-hostel in Tofino, before we fly home on the 23rd. Feels like we're in the home stretch now. Not long to go.
tagged as chemainus tag leader Beehappy
The hosts come back tomorrow morning :(
We have three custom alarm clocks here.
#1 The birds
Seagulls, ravens, herons, they all have their morning chorus. This alarm is not so bad as I can sleep through it (like I do at home!)
#2 The Hudson alarm clock
Our only neighbours here live beyond our property and their only access is via this property. They walk the two dogs twice a day, and the dogs pretty much do as they please, including crapping everywhere (the front lawn and the badminton area being, in my opinion, the worst examples). Therefore, at around 7.15am, on their first walk, we can usually here the neighbour screaming for Hudson to come back. Hence, the Hudson alarm clock.
#3 The cats
One of the cats has taken to waiting outside our bedroom door for us to wake up in the morning. There is food downstairs and a catflap, but he likes to be accompanied. The other morning he actually managed to push the door open (the handle mechanism doesn't work), and walked in at around 5am. I was not amused. He hasn't managed the same trick again (and there's some heavy books behind the door), but he does like to scratch. So this morning, the 'scratching on the door' alarm woke me at 6am.
Today I cut down a maple tree (and the other day 2 hazlenut trees). It was pretty hard work. There wasn't one big trunk, I didn't need an axe. There were lots of smaller trunks, which had to be cut with the long-handled shears or sawn. I had to cut my way in first and balance on a rock. Then I had to chuck the limbs down the bank (the tree was in amongst lots of other plants). After I climbed back out I had to throw the trunks again next to the road so they can be loaded up and taken to the rubbish tip. It was really hard work, and I have aching 'javelin throwing' muscles. I thought it would be a 30 minute job. It took 2 hours.
I was trying to cut blackberries and the scary cat was weaving in and out of my feet so I couldn't do it. I persuaded him to follow me into the vegetable garden and shut him in temporarily so I could finish. Then I tried to shut myself in and leave him out so he would lose interest and go away. This failed. He squeezed through the gap between the fence and the gate. I tried to walk down the hill and he kept standing in front of my feet. I ended up having to shout at him to go away, just so I could walk back to the house. I know he wants attention but if you stroke him he bites. And I don't want to get bitten.
Yesterday we went swimming in the sea. Well, in truth, we floated on rubber rings. It was fairly warm, but there were cold patches too, and we constantly had to search for the warm bits. The sunshine helped us feel warm. It was really shallow, which was good I suppose. There were tons of baby crabs, and loads of rocks and shells. The water is really clear. A seal popped up to say hello.
I find it difficult to understand the level of attention that is given to the cats here. The whole of the downstairs is covered in white cloths so that the cats can sit anywhere and not damage the furniture. The living-room centrepiece is a giant scratching post, plus cat toys. If the cats appear at a window or door the lady immediately rushes to let it in. They are given three sets of homeopathic drops in their water every day. They eat dry cat food but also extras. One of them has some sort of mountain lion formula which is made from goat meat. The other has salmon. Except he doesn't, he has some of the juice out of a tin of salmon. The salmon gets thrown away. How can that be ok?
We spent a couple of hours looking round our nearest town (Chemainus) the other day. It's pretty small and there are not a lot of shops. We bought some nice bread, and called at the 'British shop' for heinz beans and custard. Canadian baked beans are not up to standard! Haven't used the custard yet, but think we need to use up all the blackberries and apples that are growing here!
Yesterday we hired rubber rings to float down the Cowichan river. It took us 3 hours because the wind was blowing a little in the opposite direction to the current (should have taken 2-2.5 hours). Having said that the sun was shining, and we had the river virtually to ourselves, so it was pretty amazing. The first half was really slow and gentle. The second half had very small sections of faster flowing water. Enough to be fun, but not really scary. We had a really nice lunch after. I ate salad with blackberry vinaigrette and a piece of veggie-garlic bread. Yum!
I've been driving here long enough to get annoyed at other drivers (though I realise I probably annoy them more than they annoy me!) The speed limits here are really slow. The fastest I've driven is 100kph, which is 62 mph. usually it's less, and the limit around town is 18mph. On school days, for 800 metres around the school, it's 18 mph between 8am and 5pm. It can only be a good thing I suppose, but it feels slow to drive anywhere. I think Canadians in general are in much less of a rush than English people. The pace of life is slower.
When our hosts left on Sunday we cleared out the fridge. There's a second fridge in the basement, along with 2 extra freezers. They never remember what they have, so it was a bit mental when we emptied it. There were several containers of mouldy left overs. Five white cabbages going off. A few bags of mouldy lettuce stuffed at the back of the fridge. Ten avocados (half of which we since discovered were past their best). There's five and a half boxes of eggs (boxes which hold a dozen)! There was a ton of celery which we told them we don't like. All in all it was pretty damn gross. The pantry, unsurprisingly, smells kind of stale and off, as does a lot of the food in it. There's about ten tubs of ice cream in the freezer, along with a ton of fake meat. I did find some Brie and Camembert today. That put a smile on my face. There's also 104 bottles of wine. And some frozen fruit. Smoothies for breakfast :)
We're getting used to being by ourselves here. We've been watering the vegetable and fruit gardens, and we called into Duncan yesterday to pick up an organic vegetable box and some milk and juice. It's 100% better here without our hosts. We can eat and sleep when we want, and pretty much do as we please. It's still difficult being in someone else's house though.The whole of the downstairs is painted white (including the kitchen). There's loads of old crockery and candlestick holders, ancient furniture and pictures. It's like stepping back in time, and it's a bit depressing! Still we've watched some films which has been fun, and we're cooking nice meals for ourselves.
I drove the truck today :)
I was pretty scared but it was ok. After about 10 minutes you remember the gear stick is on your right not your left. The weirdest thing is the handbrake. You press a peddle on your left to put it on, and pull a lever low down on your left to take it off. You only really use it when parking. I got up to 90kph on the highway. We went to pick up a box of veggies from a farm just south of Duncan, and stopped for a juice (and wifi) on the way back. I'm feeling tired from so much concentration, but also rather pleased with myself.
The living room here is about four times as big as my living room, and a funny horseshoe shape. There are at least three couches and about eighteen chairs. Everything apart from the computer and the table is covered in white sheets. This is to accommodate the cats.It's creepy and reminds me of a horror movie.
Since we arrived less than a week ago we've done two raw garlic tasting sessions. It's not too bad (not as bad as I thought it would be), but it's not that nice either. I can see the point as we have to be able to describe the garlic to the customers. We are given a sliver from a clove, but I only nibble the edge, then I hide the rest and stick it in the compost after. Raw garlic upsets my stomach. The mild ones are ok, but only two are mild. Some of the others blow your head off!
It's difficult to blog here. Pc use is limited. We can't put photos on, and I have about ten poems I've written on my phone that I don't have time to re-type. I'm hoping to get wifi tomorrow, so that I can publish everything direct from my phone. We're off to collect a veggie box, and I'm probably going to be driving so wish me luck!
This afternoon I picked crab apples. I was by myself so it was quite peaceful, but lots of tree bits kept falling on me. This morning I kind of stood around watching most of the time. I'm pretty much a second class citizen here. Male host: "John do you remember if you and Jess visited that farm last time you were here?" Me (thinking): Hello..I'm stood right here. I remember.i can speak.
After today, there are three more days with the people here before we have the place to ourselves (I'm good at counting down - lots of practice from school).We can't wait, and are already planning a lie in and brunch on Monday morning.
Yesterday and the day before we pulled vines out of trees and prepared garlic for selling. We were resting, looking out of over the beach late Tuesday afternoon when an otter came out of the water. It crossed the beach, went under the bridge and ran along a fence line heading inland. It was pretty amazing to watch. I was full of big grins after. And I had my camera with me.
We've been working on different parts of the property and I wanted to write about all the different foods growing here. So far I've seen: peaches, yellow plums, apples, pears, hazlenuts, walnuts, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, sweetcorn, squash, melon, beetroot, onions, kale, prune plums, and, or course, garlic.
From what we've tried so far, the yellow plums, sweetcorn and peas are the best. It won't all be ripe, but its going to be a tasty few weeks!