By Tom Read
November in action: a visiting Great Blue Heron takes flight as I walked by our pond this morning on my way to feed the chickens and pigs.
Sometimes it pays Texadans to be considered a “remote community” by the provincial and federal powers that rule us from afar. Because we are officially remote, on Friday our entire island population had the opportunity to receive not one, but two flu shots: the H1N1 vaccine, and the normal “seasonal” vaccine. I got one in each arm, and today both are still a bit sore. After hearing about the vaccine shortages in other communities I’m certainly not complaining.
It took six nurses (two from Texada; four from Powell River) about four and a half hours to vaccinate an estimated 500 people (total island population is about 1,100), who then dined on hundreds of donated home-baked cookies. This all happened at the Texada Legion, also known as Royal Canadian Legion Branch 232. The Branch hasn’t been that jammed with people and vehicles since a particular hot summer’s night dance back in 1969 — or so commented a lifelong Texada resident who may have been pulling my leg, but only a little.
Meanwhile, it’s hard not to notice that doe hunting season is upon us once again. Seems like the island has suddenly acquired an abundance of unfamiliar pick-up trucks carrying quads and towing trailers. I was out winterizing our orchard this morning and kept wondering why there was so much traffic on High Road (aka Central Road). When I happened to look up at the sound of yet another passing vehicle, a dark blue SUV with conservation officer markings drove slowly by, pausing to take a look at me before proceeding south toward the hunting grounds. ‘Tis November.
Finally, let us remember that this place, since the end of the last ice age, has evolved into a temperate rainforest. The unusually hot and dry summer months of 2009 left us with some dead fruit and nut trees and unpleasant memories of downright hot days, but we are now thankful that the typical fall rains have returned. We had more than 4-3/4 inches of rain in October! True to November, Rumbottle Creek cascades powerfully toward Raven Bay, while our pond steadily overflows once again. For the first time it has attracted a pair of Great Blue Herons; if we acknowledge such fellow predators as having a legitimate place in the world, then our attempt to create an ecologically balanced aquaculture seems to be working. Where there are fish-hunters there must be fish!
And there you have a few brief glimpses of Texada this particular November, with more than half the month yet unknown.
Published October 6, 2009
fall , seasons , summer , winter
By David Parkinson
Leaves turning as the days turn shorter and cooler
Suddenly fall is upon us. Days are getting shorter quickly: the long luxurious evenings of the summertime are now cut short, and the sun which used to set over Harwood Island is now dropping down into Texada. Once below the horizon, the light does not linger as it used to. Night comes on fast. It’s harder to wake up early now that the sun is not banging at the windows at 5:00 AM. And more and more we have condensation in the mornings on our typically lousy west-coast single-glazed windows. Time to think of fires in the evening and space heaters by the bed. A meal of salad no longer fills the belly.
It’s a time of year which many people find mournful, since it spells the end of the riotous long hot oasis of summer, which is the time of year when everything seems possible if only because the days are long enough to fit any number of projects. The visible decline from sunshine to grey wet days is a tough one for many of us.
I like this time of year, though. There is something comforting, hidden underneath the distress at losing the warmth. It’s time to start contracting into projects centred on the home and time to start picking up the dropped threads of plans with other people who also have been too busy and outward-focused to think about developing common projects. Fall, for me, now means the beginning of the planning ahead to Seedy Saturday (March 13, 2010). And it looks as though a group of folks are going to keep talking and planning through the winter for the Exhibit Hall at the Fall Fair. And sometime during the winter I hope to start gathering together a gang of people to plan ahead for the 50-mile eat-local challenge and Edible Garden Tour (v2.0). I’m starting to remember some of the grandiose plans I had last winter, which somehow never came to fruition — a little like our cherry tree this summer. Maybe I’ll revive that idea of a cooperative… after all, I did convene a Working Group on Food-Security Cooperatives at the recent annual gathering of the BC Food Systems Network.
Another thing I look forward to is the return of the endless evenings spent reading. Summertime is such a whirl of activity that I struggle to find blocks of time wide enough in which to stretch out and get deeply immersed in good heavy books. Summer nourishes the body, but winter nourishes the mind. It’s much more difficult to feel guilty about lying around with a book when outside it’s pelting down cold drizzle, and has been doing so for days.
Who knows what plots hatched during this long wet winter will spring forth when the days begin to lengthen again?