Friday, August 29, 2008

two years in canada, yesterday

honestly, it seems like about two months since the last anniversary. it has been pelting rain in a depressingly ardent way for the last week, so i rugged up good before taking myself out for bubbly.

the photo was mean to look more pensive and less depressed, but i really like the framing, so i'm keeping it. the necklace was a surprise present in the mail from bbb and grot - noice!

this was the cake i ate. it was delicious:

i have been keeping myself busy with attending orientation events in the rain. i have a student card, which makes me very happy, a u-pass (as seen below), which allows me on all public transit for free (actually an $80 fee per semester), and a bunch of pamphlets about the library and the swimming pool and my health insurance.

miriam and i are ducking off this weekend for a last minute last holiday before i'm in school full time and she's on call full time. stay tuned for photos of rainy beaches and rainy ferries and me in the rain.

Monday, August 25, 2008

harvest time is delicious

i know you've all been wondering, "how is little gumtreefid farmer's garden going? what has she been farming lately?" well, wonder no more!

first i have to say "WHEE! summer is fun!" harvest time, baby. harvesting is delicious and easy.

the coriander has done what everyone said it would do; exploded and gone to seed. i have planted a bunch of new seeds around the edges, so i have two generations of plants in the window box. not that they'll survive winter, i suppose, so was that a silly move? hmm.

the lettuce, likewise, boom. there's also spring onions hiding in there, though i've eaten most of them. home-grown sandwich material, yum!

look! look what the cucumber plant made! i am so proud of it! there's another three on the way. woot!

and the tomatoes, oh lord, the tomatoes. there's easily 20 or 30 little tomatoes out there, all slowly ripening. here's a selection of the different shapes and sizes on the plants:

so that's where my garden is at. oh, and me showing itchy the brussell sprouts at the allotment last week, photo by itchy. if you look closely at the stems you can see the beginnings of tiny little sprouts. the plants have a bit of a tough run. first they were attacked by cabbage moth caterpillars, then they got aphids. i have been vigilant with removing the caterpillars by hand, and squirting the aphids with this weird soapy stuff. we'll see how the fruit turns out.

now, if i may indulge in a bit of food porn, here's what proper grownup farmers in the area have been harvesting:

delicious heirloom tomatoes, local raspberries, peaches from the okanagan and the first apples of the season. below is five pounds of blueberries (2.2 kilos), most of which i've frozen for winter, basil, a funny purple and yellow capsicum, which i bought purely because it's beautiful and i've never seen such a thing before, and squishy local brie.

this is what happens when i go to the farmer's market myself instead of sending miriam. stuffing all this lot into my bike panniers was a bit of a challenge . . .

gumtreefid farmer

ps. here's where the adorable gumtree is at, with a back-drop of my newest addition - a monstera:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

adventures with the posse on high bridges part 3

our last group excursion was to lynn canyon park on the north shore. this is a beautiful park with lots of hiking trails, a nice river and a (high!) suspension bridge.

we went for a bit of a walk in the lush temperate rainforest. it's second growth, but it's hard to tell from the height of the trees.

it smelt good and green, and the river rushed by the side of the path. i enjoyed being in a canadian forest with other australians, and having my interpretation validated of the forests here as oddly symmetrical or parallel or something. beautiful, of course, but odd.

winifred had suggested we bring our togs, cos there's fabulous little water pools along the length of the river, thus:

(photo by itchy). it was the most amazing crystal clear green water. nimmersatt, miriam and i all went in. cold! SO COLD! this is what comes of swimming in glacier fed water.

we spent about half an hour gradually edging in deeper and deeper, and eventually both nimmersatt and miriam ducked under completely, which was very brave of them. i stopped at the armpits because i am a big wossbag.

itchy was being nature photographer. she took this shot of one of the foolhardy teenage boys diving off high rocks into the deep pool:

on the way home we had blueberries and spelt-crust pizza. a most agreeable excursion.

(oh, and in between cassandra and nimmersatt went to salt spring island, and nimmersatt and itchy went on a whale watching tour, which is all kickarse cool, but not for me to blog about. i stayed at home and minded the puppy and marked 40 first year essays on euthanasia.)

for itchy's last night she and i went out to the sushi place with bad service. it was delicious! (photo of me by itchy)

we went via one of the many organic-specialist-100-mile supermarkets on the drive and stocked up on two types of maple syrup and many kinds of local chocolate:

the next morning we had lazy coffee at prados then went to the airport, where itchy filled in squillions of forms about not being a terrorist or a drug mule.

it made me sad when she left.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

adventures with the posse and the puppy part 2

meet lucy. aren't we cute and wholesome? she was adorable, though very high maintenance. see, she had the "i'm so adorable!" side, thus:

but if you relaxed your guard she'd chew on you:

she drew blood a couple of times, and several books in the house are missing corners (a habit she'd better drop, cos both her humans are academics). i spent a lot of time working on "sit, drop, stay" and "how 'bout you chew on your stuffed raccoon instead of that chair leg?"

having the lucy-puppy made my time-schedule more constricted, but the gang still managed to go on some nice excursions. we explored the drive (and me, itchy, miram and cass all got hair cuts from the same hairdresser) and spent a lot of time eating nice food.

we went to the aquarium, which was very cool. the highlight was the baby beluga, seen here with her mama:

(photo by itchy - more on her flickr). the beluga was so fat and cute! miriam brought the twins for the excursion, and they, also fat and cute, sang the baby beluga song for us. there was also otters and seals and sharks and dolphins and butterflies and tortoises. there was also squillions of people, and it was all a bit overwhelming. i'm going to go again some time not in the school holidays. check out the aquarium website for more great photos of large aquatic mammals, and even a webcam of the belugas!

here is a random photo of cassandra to mark the separation between topics:

we also made the obligatory trip out to MEC, so nimmersatt could kit herself out for her and cass' big kayaking tour this week.

mountain equipment co-op, for those not in the vancouver-know-how, is a ginormous outdoor shop, kinda like kathmandu but the size of myers. oh, okay, not quite, but it has *everything* camping, kayaking, climbing, biking (kinda - not as good as my shop!), skiing, etc. i send BBB catalogues periodically, so he can drool over them long distance. it is all environmentally and socially responsible, etc. etc. itchy found the clothing labels particularly entertaining. here she is demonstrating a bandha top with an "artful centre twist":

and here's me demonstrating the fabulous icebreaker singlets i bought down the road:

itchy and i also ducked up main street and looked at beautiful stationary and random craft stuff. youse should all hold your breath for itchy-made-magnets. . .

adventures with the posse part 1

on our first day we went cycling in stanley park. this was the only day missymojay had with the whole gang. vancouver splashed out its best sunny weather for the public holiday, and the forest was beautifulbeautifulbeautiful!

we had a picnic lunch, with potato salad and a lump of squishy brie as big as my head.

my chronology is getting all messed up here, but we also went out to the naam for dinner for missymojay's last night. but it wasn't the same night as went to stanley park. oh well. we went to the naam and it was *tasty*. just before i moved to vancouver missymojay drew me a little map of vancouver, with things on it like "commercial drive" and "stanley park". the naam was one of the things on the map, so it was fitting to go there all together.

missymojay contemplating the menu:

nimmersatt and itchy bonding:

cassandra and nimmersatt bonding:

the blurry photos are mine, and the nice ones at the naam are by itchy. she tried to take a self-portrait at the naam but we all kept wobbling the table so she ordered us to "find an elbow position and hold it!" silliness ensued:

we are hilarious.

missy headed off the next morning (bye, missy! hope you are having fun in europe! love to SB!), and cass went to her second day at NEW JOB, and the remainder of us headed off to the beach with winifred.

it was another hot day, and the sea was very cold, and the mountains very pretty behind the water. we paddled and splashed, and lay around talking, and ate all the naam leftovers and some cinnamen scrolls miriam had made for lunch. here's me being sunsmart:

and itchy being pretty:

and nimmersatt with the beach and mountains behind her:

i am so in love with her yellow sunnies.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

i'm baaaaaack!

well, kind of. i don't have my own little laptop with me, so i can't give you any photos of us frolicking on the beach, or tiny adorable puppy chewing on my arm, and you'll just have to imagine them, 'kay?

many guests! many many guests, bearing chocolate and news of old friends! i have had a lovely time with missymojay and SB (now both gallivanting round dublin, i believe), nimmersatt and itchy (gallivanting round victoria), and cassandra, (hopefully sleeping in preparation for her second week at NEW JOB!). we have been to the beach and to the aquarium, and cycled round stanley park and gone promenading on the drive. exciting action packed tourist adventures ahoy!

now i am puppy sitting for a prof-friend, so i have charge of a huge house, two cats, a tank of fish and a puppy for ten days. lucy is a 15 week old golden retriever, and so so cute. she's like a fluffy white lamb which gambols in the grass then suddenly develops fangs and tries to knee cap you. it's the mixture of adorable and vicious that really keeps the relationship lively.

last night miriam's family came over and played raucous card games til midnight. itchy was very good at demon even though it was her first time and we had drunk quite a lot of wine. she has some photos up on her flickr account, so go there and admire the mountains.

i hear chewing from upstairs. must dash!