is a bitch

Full disclosure. I never got dressed today. It just doesn’t seem worth the bother. It’s not that I am running around nude, I have my jammies on but E is likely quite sick of my ensemble.

The weather these days isn’t the best, so I am continuing with indoor projects. Unusual for May days for sure. E is contentedly puttering inside the bunkie. There is room for storage above the bathroom for sleeping bags etc. He lay down a stiff plastic panel to make it a cleaner space. I’m probably not describing it very well. But suffice to say. He is down to the last finishing bits.

He finished painting the furniture. I had told you I would show you my Mom’s blanket cabinet with the quilt I made for it when it was finished.

With a scheduled trip to town for us in June we now have the need for masks. In true “me” style I asked a few friends how they did it, spent hours on the google looking at ideas and eventually came up with a plan. This site is titled “What we learned after making 167,000 masks”, hosted by a group of women who have been supplying PPES to first responders in Washington state.

The masks are meant to be custom fit and reused after hand washing. The host has a handy tip section on what you can use if you don’t have the right stuff. Although I have lots of cute material, I don’t have the right bits and bobs… After much experimenting with sizes and the sacrifice of my only two, cloth, re-useable shopping bags. Here is the result. The nose clip is made from the thingy on a coffee bean bag. The shopping bags used as interface apparently give it an almost N95 level of security or,certainly, all we need for our purposes.

Not much unusual in the wildlife department going on. So not really anything to report. I won’t update you on Mrs. Robinson, it’s all too sad. Although I love living here and we are so very fortunate to spend our isolated hours together on the nature channel, sometimes mother nature

is a bitch.

and few murders

Welcome to day 39 on our island preceded by another 29 days on island since we got back from Mexico, or as I call it …. an introvert’s idea of heaven. We have a planned visit to the city in the middle of June but other than that we have really no intention of leaving the island…well, forever.. If I could figure out a way to test E’s blood work and give the dog a haircut we wouldn’t have to leave at all. But I can’t do either.. so off we go..

We are committed to socially distancing. If preaching “your truth” about a need to look pretty, party on the beach or build your stock portfolio, is more important to you than social distancing, and wearing a mask for the safety of the vulnerable in the community with whom you share this world… I do not want to hear about it, hire you, go to your store or buy your bread.

Whoops. I try not to get all political and negative here. I slipped, sorry. But you should know where we stand. E sums it up pretty simply. There is no cure. There is no treatment. If he gets it, it will likely kill him. We are staying home.

Our property is 2.5 acres. We have incredible privacy and, really, all of the comforts of home. We have no problem with internet service in our house at this end of the island and wanted to get service up to the bunkie and garden so E bought a wifi extender for our Telus smart hub. It cost about 100.00 and our dear neighbour picked it up from the post office for us .. (thank you Mary). We now have service throughout our property.

Our kids are safe and all but one is working from home. It’s difficult to be a wildfire fighter working from home, but that son has assured us they are taking precautions. The others are, as I said, safe and, I am hoping, able to figure out a way to come here and stay and work from the bunkie. If they should visit, that bunkie will be the single most brilliant thing we have ever done…

I have now used most of the material on the quilting projects I had thought would occupy me in November. It is the middle of May and I made a Christmas tree skirt for a son who neither needs nor probably wants a Christmas tree skirt…. In May!!!!! Last night, I found a great site, with beautiful material, that would ship to our PO Box for free. I ordered a ton… In my defense, I had planned on buying a lot of material on our cruise to Bali in March and that didn’t happen. When my new purchases arrive, I should have enough material to finish four more quilts. Or, as I like to call it, happily isolating at my sewing machine.

In the evenings we are rewatching the IT crowd on Netflix, very funny, thankfully no politics and

And few murders

Ocean and all

For those of you worried that Bobby (Hammer) had left our waters for good, fear not. He made a brief appearance Friday night around 8:30 with his typical three small dives and one big down. E’s sisters were here, suitably distanced and able to see him briefly. Although, I had grown lax in my diligence to watch for him out the window I have recommitted my time.

Unable to easily justify doing absolutely nothing while whale waiting at the window, I decided to start sewing again. With no guests visiting for the foreseeable future and the eating habits of teenagers, we don’t need the dining room table right now.

With the bunkie fairly complete to accommodate any of our children should they be able to visit and it ever so unlikely our granddaughter will be here soon.. I have taken over the guest room as a sewing room. Sewing room is an optimistic name for the place where all of my ufp’s (unfinished projects) are now stashed, but guilty pleasure room didn’t have the same ring to it.

It is all set up.. Now I have to decide which of the many unfinished projects I’m going to attack while I keep an eye out the window.

I am happy to announce that Mrs. and Mr. Robinson are the proud parents of four wee bairns born three days early. Congratulations to the busy parents and we will keep our fingers crossed that the squirrels and raccoons keep their mitts off.

We have had plenty of rain over the weekend with more scheduled for the coming week. I am not needing water for my vegetables and we are able to catch more than we use. E even felt daring enough to power wash the deck a bit.

If it can’t be my grand daughter’s bedroom for a while, it makes a most adequate sewing room. What with it hanging over the

ocean and all

Looking down from my sewing machine

you don’t mind

On the grand scheme of things, blog posts about whales, when you are living on the nature channel, seem to be of universal interest and, really, write themselves. Takes no work whatsoever to entertain my readers when I have whales to talk about..

With that bar set fairly high, and no whales about to speak of, I felt I would only bore you with discussion of the minutiae of my days these last two weeks. But, if you can hold on to the end of the blog, you might just see something you have never seen before…

I have been trying to stay away from the garden as Mrs. Robinson is very busy with her eggs. She tells me they should hatch on Tuesday and then, after two weeks, the kids will be out of the nest and I can have my garden back.

E has now hung seven bird houses in the trees around the property. I like to have them where I can see the comings and goings from the garden or favourite deck chair. This Mom is hard at work outside our bedroom window.

I have spent hours and hours lately sitting on my deck doing very little but staring into space and watching the local birds.

We have two eagles who are very busy at their nest. I am most eager to see who they are tending. We have tons of hummingbirds. Most of them, I suspect, we have held in our hands at one point or another because a day rarely goes by when they don’t mistakenly come inside the house.

When they do they let us catch them in our hands and release them back outside. For added entertainment they let me feed them. This week I took the feeder off the hook, removed the yellow thingys and floated them in a red lid with the usual sugar water. They came to my hands and when my hands were tired and I put the lid on my lap, they still came and fed… There is something very rewarding when they trust me enough to just sit on the lid and drink at a leisurely pace.

This morning, over coffee, as I scanned the water in front of my house for any signs at all of a whale or two, I saw, instead, an eagle catching his breakfast. We had seen him do this once before, years ago, during the reno, but it is still a rare and incredible sight.

So we have turned to the bird show on the nature channel for a while as the whale programming seems to be on hiatus. I hope

you don’t mind.

place to start

In the thirty years we vacationed on the island we never saw a whale. In all those years, E’s Dad lived here full time and I think he mentioned seeing one once at Thanksgiving in front of Boat Harbour. In the twenty odd years the previous owners of our house were here, they saw a humpback whale once…

In addition to Bobby we had heard rumours of a second whale hanging about these waters in the last six weeks. We assumed it was Claw, Bobby’s Mom and tried to get photographic proof. We needed a picture of her tail and it would have been nice to have one of the two of them together. In my head, Mom and son were enjoying the spring together in a world where I can’t spend time with my kids..

We heard back from the research group last night regarding the picture we took yesterday afternoon, at 3:38, of a whale substantially larger than Bobby.

When the underside of the whale’s fluke is more than 80% white it is classified as a BCZ whale. If it is primarily black, it is a BCX, and somewhere in between, a BCY. This whale is even more unique as it is listed in the Clayoquot catalogue instead of the DFO catalogue. The whale’s full scientific name is BCZ-CS513. Our photo of her yesterday is the first known documentation of her this year

She is referred to in sighting reports as a “giant”, and yes she is a she. Her nickname is Anvil for the black anvil shape on the upper right corner of her fluke.

I should mention that our Bobby is nicknamed Hammer by the researchers for the hammer shaped marking on the left side of his fluke. (He will always be Bobby to me). I have been told by the research group that contrary to my imagined world where Mom and sons play together for years on end, it would be unlikely that Bobby would still be with his mom at his age.

Humpbacks reach maturity around the age of twelve and have a calf every two years on average. Anvil is probably around ten years old.

Humpbacks whales were the most common large whale in these waters until commercial whaling killed almost 2000 of them between 1903 and 1966. There were only a few left when they were declared endangered in 1966. Since the 1990’s, sightings have increased on the BC west coast from one or two per year to daily events in the 2000’s . We have had visits from Bobby fairly regularly since the middle of March.

Adult humpback whales are between 35-45 feet long. The humpbacks we have in our waters go south to warmer waters for breeding and calving. They rarely eat there. They return to the colder waters in the summer months to feed on krill, herring and other small fish. They normally return to the same areas every year and we can only hope Anvil and Hammer have found our waters hospitable and continue to return.

Humpbacks, much to our anticipated enjoyment, like to breach and tail slap or can be found laying motionless on the surface of the water for long periods while they sleep.

I think you all would agree that we are living in a substantially different world than we were, even three years ago. We need to find the positives where we can. Following the antics of Hammer and Anvil with me here on the nature channel, is a pretty great

place to start

Curiouser and Curiouser

We settled down to watch the final season of Homeland last night but were interrupted by the arrival of a humpback in front of the house. For most of the rest of the evening we tried to get a picture of the tail for identification. It was uncooperative, much to the frustration of my Facebook friends when I tried to live stream his visit.

It wasn’t Bobby. It was acting differently and seemed decidedly larger. It never showed us her tail. It swam circles around the channel, never really too close to us. At midnight we could still hear it going back and forth. My neighbour thought she saw two out there.. We thought maybe it was Bobby’s mom, Claw.

With a heavy dose of optimism for warmer temperatures in our future I planted my tomatoes and pumpkins today. Five Cinderella pumpkins are in the ground along with twenty tomatoes of various types. It was a lovely day in the garden. Not too hot to work.. lots of birds around. Mrs. Robinson has added an egg to her nest.

Previous years I have planted way too many tomatoes and they have been over crowded and unhappy. This year I am betting that I will have a stronger crop by giving them all a lot more room to thrive.

Last year I experimented with a watering idea I had. Water is in short supply, of course, and often when I water the vegies it seems the water just runs off the dirt and never reaches the roots.. Especially when it is bone dry in July.

So E cut up left over ABS pipe and then drilled a few holes in the bottom few inches. Every tomato has a pipe and a stake buried with it. I have also added a cage just for extra support. Any watering for the tomato will go into the pipe and straight down to the roots.

The pumpkins also have a pipe buried with each of them. I am not wasting one drop of water this summer!

This afternoon, another humpback came to the house and E was able to get a good video and a great picture of the tail. It is neither Bobby, nor Claw. I have sent the info to the research group who helped us last time. Inquiring minds and all that.

Curiouser and curiouser

Job, that man

I am a simple woman with simple needs. I don’t ask for diamonds or emeralds (anymore), I am just happy to know my family is safe, there is wine in the cupboard, no one is yapping at me about politics and my garden is thriving..

Long time readers know that the main reason I like to garden is to watch the birds who visit. Plants I choose to include in the garden are hopefully attractive to birds. Butterflies are a bonus. The fish pond we added, as lovely as it is, also conveniently helps my bird guests.

Years ago, E hung bird houses in three random trees for my entertainment. Between you and me, I am hoping he will make more of them with the left over cedar we have from the bunkie siding. The one closest to the garden has been occupied every year and I noticed that last year it had started to come away from the tree from the weight of the babies. Mom is currently working hard at tidying it up for her new gang. I lamented that the birdhouse might actually crash to the ground as E walked idly past me. I asked really nicely.. and well ,…. now the babies will be safe.

I was more than delighted this morning to see the newest addition to my garden. A new mom, her name most likely, Mrs. Robinson has built a nest on the post at the underside of my garden shed roof. It’s right above the electrified wire so she is safe from raccoon pillaging. I put my camera on video and hung it over the nest when she wasn’t looking and there are no eggs yet.. I am sooo looking forward to watching her progress. Spoiler alert, you are going to be hearing and seeing her progress too.

I should confess that E wasn’t actually idle. He was painting the beds he made for the bunkie and was walking past me to get his brushes.. But, he stopped none the less to fix the bird house. Happy wife, happy life and all that… Patience of,

Job that man