Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekend Walks

Sunday evening, and I arrive home after spending time with Bill and Black Jack on the fishing dock near Jericho Beach.  The plan was to capture the sunset, but in the end, the sun's way of highlighting its subjects became the evening's focus.

Here, a rare seagull.  Jericho is usually a birder's paradise, but the folk festival caused most of the birds and beasts to go into temporary hiding.   
Black Jack craning around Bill to check out who knows what..
Here, I like to think Black Jack is contemplating the sunset, but the truth is she's quivering with excitement, and neither Bill nor I have any idea what is triggering her intense interest.  Maybe rats under the dock?

Thinking back over the weekend..
A documentary several weeks ago about Riverview Hospital stimulated my curiosity.  A lady from the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society talked about the arboretum, and about the empty buildings on the land.  Once a very large hospital for people with mental illness, Riverview now has many empty buildings, and only a small number of patients still living on the grounds.  Many seem to think those buildings could be occupied again, providing a place for Vancouver's homeless to live a much improved life.  You can listen to some of the documentary at this link.  Bill and I began exploring, and we were amazed at the vastness of the property.  A patient was sitting with his guitar and we asked him to play us a song.  He did, and we found it strangely peaceful..  I say "strangely" because after he stopped singing, he told us there was only once place he wanted to go and that was East Hastings.  It struck me that this man would disagree with the current opinion that the mentally ill are better off at Riverview.  

We left the man, feeling a bit sad for his obvious lack of peace.  Although he didn't show appreciation for the trees around him, I wondered it they bring him some sort of comfort .  There are some real beauties on the property.  Many have small metal plates attached to them, with an identification number and both the latin and the English names inscribed as well.  The tree below is a Camperdown Elm.  When I went to take a picture of Bill under it, he quickly reached for his hat.  I wondered what he was doing.. 
..and laughed to see him switch the hat around.  We had had an earlier conversation when I complained that the brim of my hat was getting in the way when I take pictures.  I love this picture of Bill, with his eyes twinkling blue and a mischievous smile on his face.
I learned that because the trees were planted far enough apart to give them space to grow to their full potential, many reach right to the ground.  Bill and Black Jack are under this tree, but it's tough to see them.

We continued walking and discovered Finnie's Garden a short distance away.  You can learn more about this garden , and also about the trees, by going to the Riverview Horticultural web site.  

Lovely branches used creatively in this walkway.
I haven't seen grapes growing very often.  With the sun on these, it seemed they were almost ripe enough to eat.
 I love the way Black Jack hangs out of Bill's arms, absolutely confident that he will keep her safe.
For tree huggers, Riverview is a gold mine.  No pictures of Bill hugging a tree, but I think he came close:)  He was the one to draw my attention to this beauty.
There were several places set up for a peaceful rest stop.  We saw some photographs near these chairs, covered with plastic and attached to the trees.  One showed a bear standing on its hind legs, checking out the very tree we were looking at.  That was the first time I remembered that we were in bear country.  We continued our walk, with just a tad more attention to the sounds around us.
We discovered a small building near this spot, with pamphlets at the door listing more than 100 native plants to be found in the garden, and also explaining a little about Finnie's story.  The web site link above will give you that same information.    
We enjoyed our walk around the Riverview hospital grounds, but the birds must have been having their afternoon siesta, and we decided to revisit Colony Farms, where we had been last weekend.  We approached from a different direction this time, looking for some of the birds we had seen.  We were again reminded that a little caution would be sensible.
Bill and Black tried their best to flush out a few birds, but it was definitely a slow day.
Recently, while watching the osprey nest in North Vancouver, I met a photographer who gave me his web address.  I was blown away by his photographs.  If you check out his site, you will see a photo of the back of a bird that is breathtaking.  I was thinking of that shot when I took the one below.  The thing about this photographer, is that he gets the exotic shots, but his talent is such that two pigeons are as exciting as many of the more rare species.  My first thought when I saw his work was, "I'm never going to take another bird photo again."  My second was, "I need a new camera."  My third was, "I have a long way to go, but challenge is a good thing."
Three mama ducks exchanging stories.


The folk festival was in full swing.  We walked around the perimeter.  Bikes were everywhere.
I heard on the news this evening that the festival is struggling to meet its financial challenges, but I also heard someone say there is a $1 charge to park your bike.  For a finance-challenged person like myself, it seems the bike parking alone could pay for festival costs.  Okay, I guess not, but really, I can't remember ever seeing this many bikes in one place.
Lots and lots of places to buy food.
The East Bazaar
The West Bazaar
I've already complained about the festival, but honestly, I do appreciate that there are some great musicians needing exposure, and clearly crowds and crowds of people who want to hear them perform.  That's a good thing.  But, booming bass, cigarette and several other kinds of smoke, and multitudes of adoring fans do not make for happy wildlife.  The Jazz Festival does great downtown.  I think the Folk Festival could do just as well, and at the very least, would mean many less stressed birds and beasts.


On the way to the beach I passed these flowers, and had to stop.  The home owner told me that they are Trumpet Vines.  He said that they have to be cut back drastically, in order to get them to bloom this abundantly the following year.  He was fine with my taking pictures, adding that he's happy to have his garden provide pleasure for passers-by.  It surely did that! 
The tide was out and Black Jack and I had fun exploring the beach.  I was very happy to see this heron.
It flew off, and I thought I was out of luck.
Remembering Jean's post about sand dollars and other treasures on the beach, I consoled myself about losing the heron, by exploring some of the things right under my feet.  I didn't see any sand dollars, but did see some shells and seaweed.
Then, the heron came back to its original spot!  Not only that - I saw it catch a fish!
I did feel sorry for the fish, but very happy for the heron.  I've seen a heron at this spot before, and now I know why.
Black Jack and I were gone a long time, and I was now in need of a latte.  We went to a shop on 4th Avenue that has opened up fairly recently.  Their lattes are not quite up to my favorite Wicked Cafe ones, but they are very good, and today's sure did hit the spot.  No link today, as I've forgotten the name of the shop, but soon.
I love the way Black Jack's legs dangle over my knees.  She seems to have the knack of making herself comfortable, wherever she is.
She turned to look back, without a thought that she might fall.  Her expression made me laugh.
It was a good walk and a fun weekend.  Thanks to Bill and Black Jack for great company and lots of laughter.


  1. I love your pics. I like the heron taking off and Black Jack is looking very cute. I haven't been in cyber-land for a while but I'm back.

  2. BJC,
    What a lovely post. Lots of beautiful photos (I was thinking I need to do more pictures and less whining...)
    I love the one of the duck's back, with her head tucked in coyly! And Al would embrace any excuse for a new camera! That sounds like a good rationalization!

  3. Interesting and beautiful post, Carol. I did not realize the Riverview Hospital grounds were open to the public - I just may have to make a stop there next time I'm in that vicinity. As low cost housing, I think the biggest drawback would be the distance to convenient, low cost shopping and services.
    When I was a very young single mom (back in the 70s) I lived rent free in a building that had been converted to suites for single moms who were trying to do something to get off welfare and improve their life situation (like taking further education). It was a huge blessing for two years of my life. With appropriate transportation systems, I could see Riverview filling that kind of niche.

  4. Ruby, it's great to have you back! Thanks for commenting:)

    EvenSong, thanks for the kind comment and permission to start thinking about a new camera:) And no, you are not a whiner at all. How is Sandy doing?

    Thanks, Jean. I must say that the helping hand when you needed it was a win win situation. You have paid it back many times over with your teaching, rescue work, writing and the values you passed on to your daughter. I hadn't thought of transportation and shopping, but you are right that they would be important considerations to make a low-cost housing plan at Riverview work.

  5. Hello, looks like you had a happy weekend! You learned a lot of things. And so the festival pushed through? Were the birds disturbed?

    Your photos are all lovely, great post, very informative!

    BTW what was BJ looking at?

  6. Thanks, Al. I never did figure out what Black Jack was looking at. She often sees and hears things that I completely miss.

    The birds at Jericho had mostly disappeared by Sunday night. I think they flew across the water for a temporary stay at Stanley Park. I saw huge flocks of seagulls there when I biked to work on Monday morning. By the evening, many of them seemed to have returned to Jericho, so I guess all will be back to normal soon. Not the end of the world after all, but I still feel quite strongly that it would make more sense to do the folk festival on downtown streets, like the Jazz festival.

  7. Thanks for asking about Sandy, Carol. She's doing well. Stitches come out Thursday (those she hasn't already managed to reach around the edge of her radar hood) and fence should be finished today. I'll post on my site when all is complete. E