Sunday, May 26, 2013

razor-sharp smile...

salmon shark

Two little salmon sharks swimming into the shop today. One is already reserved, but the one above is right here. I used a cotton for the undersides this time, naturally dyed by me with a slight mottled appearance. And I got my hands on some white leather so they have "real" teeth this time. Ragged, ferocious fellows, used to the hard life in the North Pacific Ocean.


We have had some low low tides in the middle of the day this weekend, perfect for beach combing and tide pool exploring. Yesterday AK and I took Ty for a long meander to check out ochre stars, wee crabs and more, all under the watchful eyes of a large crew of eagles also taking advantage of the low tide pickings. The sun has stuck around today, so in a couple hours I think the pup and I will go out again to a slightly different spot and see what we can find. My hopes are on some moon snails...

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

canoe dog...

are you sure about this?


canoeing's not so bad

can i swim from here?

This morning dawned full of sunshine, and it seemed the perfect time to get Ty out for his first canoe experience. We'd like to take a weekend canoe trip soon, camp along a lake chain near here. And maybe someday he'll even stand politely on a standup paddleboard with us. But first, a short little excursion to test the waters, quite literally.

We don't own a canoe (someday), but thankfully are easily able to borrow one from the canoe/kayak shop from where AK sometimes guides. Despite a persistent northwest breeze at home, the waters of the river and estuary were calm, the current also tempered by an incoming tide. Ty sat in the canoe on the grass, but once it was in the water he needed an encouraging lift to get in. He stood, but stayed, and we were off. Wooden paddles dipped quietly into the clear water, the river bottom not far below us. I felt the boat shift, and shift again, as our boy struggled to find a spot he felt comfortable with. He touched his nose to the water repeatedly, trying for a drink despite the surely brackish taste, and the bowl of clean water beside him. But he kept calm, and we paddled on.

We followed the river's flow, out into the estuary where eagles watched us from old posts and a pair of geese preened themselves in the shallows along a small island. It was a beautiful day in the valley, there was no denying that. The mountain peaks still have patches of snow, but down here at sea level it feels like summer. Out, out we went, finally turning back as we neared one of the last navigation markers that guide boaters through the river's entrance. The river's current slowed us a bit on the return journey, made us work our paddles just a little harder, but soon enough we were crossing the gentle eddy line back into the marina and to the boat ramp. I clambered out first, and Ty waited until called before jumping out. All in all, a successful first excursion since none of us ended up swimming. :)


It is a long weekend here in Canada, and so I have one more day to putter about the house. AK headed off this evening to spend a week kayak guiding on the west coast, so Ty and I will be spending some quality time. Too bad I have to work the rest of the week, but he'll be well taken care of all the same.

There are two salmon sharks in progress, but I'm not sure when they'll be ready for the shop. I have also recently acquired some gorgeous brown leather and lush wool, which makes me think a sea lion is next on the docket. My hands are slow, but things come along.

Hope you have had a wonderful weekend - what did you get up to?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

[not so] wordless wednesday...



A pair of American robins have tucked in and made themselves a home on the roof of our deck, where it is overlapped with the roof overhang from the house, and thus quite well protected. The deck roof is really just corrugated plastic sheeting, which is why I easily spotted the nest from below. I feel a bit guilty each time I venture out onto the deck now, as it seems no matter how quiet I step I am sure to flush one of them from the nest. If I am quiet enough though, and wait patiently, they will come back. I can't wait till there are little chirplings, and maybe if I am lucky they will drop a few shell pieces down to me below.


>>> for Michele who asked, Ty is a pitbull mix. For those who don't know, "pitbull" is not actually a breed, but gets used as a lump term for several breeds (Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pitbull Terrier) and other dogs with that "bully" look. I'm only clarifying because I think the mass description is often unfair, and poorly informed (many people will identify a dog as a pitbull when it is not - test yourself with this quiz), which leads to breed stereotyping. In Ty's case, he is a mutt of undetermined breeds, although we did rescue him from an organization that specifically works to find home for "pitbulls" who generally have the lowest rates of adoption in regular shelters.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

summer whale...

summer whale

The summer weather continues around here, day after day of beautiful sun and warmth. It feels like July. While rain clouds are threatening to creep in just time for the weekend (hey, I love rain, no complaints) this delightful weather has inspired a summery grey whale in pale oceany blues.  He's in the shop now.

Here's a little behind the scenes from the photoshoot; it's good to have helpers. :)

Photoshoot helper

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

feels like summer...

9pm twilight walk, still in the mid-20s C. Summer has started way early this year. Plus, spotted my first owl of the season as we passed through the woods on the way back.

I keep rechecking the calendar date. Surely it can't be only the beginning of May. For days now the temps have been reaching into the high 20s (C), and the blue sky stretches unbroken to the mountains on either side. It feels like summer, well and truly, and there's little choice to make but to enjoy it fully, as one never knows when it will change again.

Last night, in the twilight, Ty and I slipped out the door for a walk. The streets were mostly quiet - a few folks digging in their gardens here and there, sprinklers watering lawns as we passed. We followed the path off the pavement and onto dirt under a fresh unfurled canopy of leaves. The songbirds were sounding their sunset chorus, with the occasional alarm noting our passage. The creek trickled quietly underneath us as we ambled over the bridge. Down at the beach, lilting voices carried across the water from a pair of kayakers gliding serenely in the bay. We paused for a breath, a quiet contemplation, and to enjoy the view.

Then we were back amongst the trees, following the winding path as the light continued to fade. I noted again the birds, those trumpeting out an alarm about this woman and her dog, and those singing in the night. But I was only half listening. And then I realized I should be listening fully, and embracing what the robins know and can share with me. I turned my comments and commands to Ty down to a whisper, and quieted my footfalls on the trail. We descended back to the creek, and stopped so he could have a drink of water beside the bridge. I thought for a moment I heard something splash out of the water as we approached, but then I doubted myself as I watched the tiniest waterfall gurgle repeatedly with the same sound.

Up ahead, the songbirds were alarming in a group, too far off to be a comment about us yet. I was pretty sure what that ruckus was for. As we got closer I started scanning amongst all the branches, trying to isolate the centre in growing darkness. There! A larger bird, adjusting its feathers high on a Douglas fir branch, just barely silhouetted against the forest background. Unmistakably an owl. I looked down for a moment and it was gone, but then found again on a tree on the other side of the creek. I smiled, and Ty stood there, oblivious to the action above his head. I had already been planning to return to the woods near our old house in the next few weeks, in hopes of re-acquainting myself with the barred owl pair from last year. But to know there is at least one owl in the wooded area near our new place makes me excited to do a bit more exploring here as well, perhaps earlier in the evening with big camera in hand. I'll keep you posted.

We climbed the stairs back out of the woods, pausing to note a deer crunching through the dead leaves on the other side of the creek. The heat was more noticeable back out on the street, free from the cooling effect of the forest canopy. We were both thinking about a drink and I kept the rest of the loop short. In the open park past the tennis courts two does watched us and Ty created a bit of a fuss in his apparent growing fascination for deer, much to my dismay. But soon enough we were back in our own driveway, and then he was fast asleep on the couch as we settled in for the night.