Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Salt Spring Island visit, Vancouver Jazz Festival, and Happy Canada Day!

This is another too-long post, so don't feel obliged to read it all.  If one picture resonates for any reason, that is fine.  If one of the sections interests you more than the others, that's fine too.  
1. Salt Spring island Visit (a little more than half the post).
2. Vancouver Jazz Festival.  
3. Happy Canada Day! (the final 5th of the post). 
Last week began with a visit to Salt Spring Island where Bill did some work on the house that he and Raven (his ex-wife) own.  The conclusion of my last ABC post attempts to describe how touched I was by Raven's generous hospitality and a Friday Skywatch post shows the  golden sunset that we enjoyed on Tuesday evening.  Today's Our World Tuesday post will bring you a few sights around the island, and especially, some of the critters and birds that enjoy Raven's perpetually open 5-star diner.   
Seen from the ferry as we travelled to Salt Spring.  I imagined the stories this house could tell.
Mud flats in the village of Ganges on Salt Spring Island.  Bill parks "just right" so I can get the photo.
Black Jack, anticipating an extraordinary time, peers out the front window and refuses to move.
Raven and Bill's Schnauzers, Reka and Judy, are buried on their property. 
They were very much loved and the memorial is a poignant one. 
A female American Goldfinch sat on a tree branch in the forested area close to the feeder.
*Correction would be most appreciated if I have mis-identified any birds.
Bill tested out his new toy power washer.  It was a success!
I loved this Rufous Hummingbird's dangling feet.
There were colourful bikes displayed by the sides of roads, camouflaged under trees and behind fences, dropped into the middle of fields, and tucked in nooks and crannies everywhere we went. 
I think they were part of this art project to raise money for Africa.
Many were lavishly decorated, but others, like the ones I've posted, kept things simple.
The bicycle is a brilliant invention.
  I've just enjoyed reading a little of its history from this link.
I saw these flowers in Ganges as black but under my camera's eye, they turned out to be blue.
This red squirrel was a regular visitor to Raven's feeder.
Known as Dukey, she was pregnant, and obviously in excellent health.
She wasn't shy about expressing her needs, but was foiled here, as the seed tree was tied to the chain.
Black Jack was helplessly silent around Dukey.  
The audacity of such arrogance was simply too much for her to fathom.
These pigeons also enjoyed Raven's feeder.  They are much larger than the ones I see in the city.
Whenever they were too greedy, Raven waved from the kitchen and they left for a few seconds.
There was something endearing and also comical about the way they understood each other.
This article answers some questions about pigeons and doves. 
Raven said the ones at her feeder are "true" pigeons and the city ones are usually doves.
Can you feel the intensity in Black Jack's gaze?
A Chestnut-backed Chickadee eyed its food before flying to the feeder.
I loved the bright yellow of this male American Goldfinch.
This Red-breasted Nuthatch looked back with a "What are you up to?" expression on its face.
I found this Northern Flicker really interesting to watch.
She was very busy finding food for an offspring..
..that appeared to be larger than she was.
"Thanks, Ma.  That was good!"
Here, I really noticed her feet,
and here, the contrasting stripes and polka dots, and red shafts in the tail feathers stood out for me.
She lost her grip for a second and I was treated to a fanned view of her tail feathers. 
She may have been digging out some seeds that fell through the feeder's drain hole, 
but, I'm thinking that she was more likely
 using the pan as a tool to help her crack a particularly difficult seed.
This Purple Finch was a first for me.
Another first - a Hairy Woodpecker.
The suet was definitely a hit.
On Tuesday, Bill showed me a few sights around the island.
This is Government Dock at Fernwood Point.
Looking down to the dock below, I was happy to see this otter,
but then saddened to realize there was something wrong with its left eye.
The good thing, as Raven noted, was that the eye did not appear to be infected.
Bill parked the truck when I spotted these butterflies.  (Thank you, Bill!)
I didn't manage a good photograph, but think they may have been mating here.
I liked this pretty daisy at the side of the road.
This deer took off just as we arrived. Was it pulling on the fence to get at the greener grass?
Who says there is no sun on the west coast?  Not Bill!  
Home again, i watched hummingbirds.  I love that Raven planted flowers specifically for them.
Dragonflies were fun to watch as well.
This one was hard to see, as it rested against leaves devastated by caterpillars.
This article explains why people should not panic over the large number of caterpillars this year.
There was a beautiful beach at the bottom of the stairs.
This seagull (with personality plus) hovered for a second to check us out.  
Then it landed, I guess convinced that Black Jack and I weren't too much of a problem,
but, unlike the city seagulls of Vancouver, it kept a safe distance, just in case.
I think this may have been a Red Crossbill, another first for me.
Another of those fanned wing shots that I love to get.
During Tuesday's sunset, I enjoyed the shadows and light on and around the house.
Thank you, Raven and Bill, for an unforgettably fun time in your beautiful home.

This photo may seem like a strange one to introduce the festival, but if you look closely you will see that the hair on the face of this blossom in David Lam Park is standing straight up and the eyes are bugging out with shock.  The festival had much to offer, and I will definitely get to that, but I need to express a concern here first.  I hope you will forgive me.
The last two days of the festival (Saturday and Sunday) were in the park directly opposite my apartment.  I taught high school concert and stage/jazz bands and choirs for many years.  I love music and loved my job, but the volume level of the groups performing for the two evening concerts on Saturday and Sunday gave me no choice but to run for cover.  Even with my windows closed, normal activities (conversation, listening to the radio, etc) could not be carried on indoors.  Why would musicians, of all people who should want to protect their hearing, subject anyone to a volume that causes physical pain?  Why have we become a society that equates mind-blowing volume with entertainment?  Amplification (even in movie theatres) has gone nuts.  It is time to take care of our ears and our children's ears, and indirectly, of our voices, since screaming at the top of our lungs is one of the consequences of this trend. Thank you for listening.  On to a few of the festival highlights that I really, really enjoyed.
The members of this high school choir sang their hearts out, 
under the direction of their clearly inspired teacher.
The choir and this high school stage band were invited after their participation in The Monterey Jazz Festival.   These were some of the top music students in the U.S. and their focus was unbelievable.  
I was especially impressed with the pianist.
Across from the park were concerts, workshops and even this "PlayJazz" installation at The Roundhouse.  The latter was free for anyone (even Black Jack!) to try.  The idea was to move in front of the screen, making abstract works of art while triggering musical sounds.  To be honest, the process remained a bit of a mystery for me, but the highlight of this experience was meeting sisters, Cynthia (at the left in the photo below) and Karen (on the right).  They had just walked in, and I wanted to take photographs while seeing what kind of art and music Black Jack's movements would trigger.  They were absolutely game to give it a try, so I gave each of them a handful of treats, and asked them to have Black Jack run between them.  This is another of those opportunities that I would love to have back again.  My photos left a lot to be desired but I will never forget the fun Black Jack and I had, and the sweet willingness of two complete strangers to go along with my game plan.  Here are a few of the pictures:

Black Jack's treat slipped under the screen so Cynthia and Karen were on their own here.

Black Jack's antics were okay, but I thought Cynthia and Karen were the true stars.
Suddenly, we had these neat circles.  No idea why, since the motions remained more or less the same.

Cynthia's right hand was cool in this one.
I think the treats were all gone by this time, but Cynthia..
..and Karen generated some colourful stripes with their dance-style movements.
Thank you again, girls.  I won't forget your kindness and the fun we had!
We had been in an upstairs room of The Roundhouse for the above jazz installation, and I was about to go down the stairs to leave the building when I looked over the railing to see the group in the photo below.  I had no idea who they were or what their music would sound like, but decided, especially since no one seemed to be objecting to Black Jack's presence, to stay around and listen to a set.
Unbelievably, it was entirely free to listen to this extraordinary trio!  I feel it would have been worth paying whatever the top price was for the ticketed performances at the festival.  I now know that the pianist is Cat Toren.  She, her bass player, Russell Sholberg, and her drummer, Dan Gaucher, cooked up a storm of fine playing that held a difficult audience spellbound. The doors to the performance hall were wide open, and people wandered in, often just wanting to get dry on a rainy day.  There were children, elderly people, and every age in between.  Within a few seconds of being in the room, you knew you were in for a fine musical experience.  
I wouldn't normally subject you to a picture of my legs and shoes (both well worn in) except to illustrate a point.  I sat on the floor at the front of the room, with Black Jack happily sprawled on top of my legs, and didn't move except to snap pictures (no flash) for a full set.  Two little children sat beside me, also unmoving throughout (except to gently pat Black Jack).  Their dad was equally enthralled.  Unlike the situation with groups across the street in David Lam Park, where audience members yelled to be heard over the music, the audience here was silent.  When it was over, I found a chair and listened to the 2nd set.  I love this trio and will watch for any future performances!
This is the only shot I managed of Cat Toren's face.  She is responding here to very enthusiastic applause.

She is rarely still, and sometimes, it seemed she and the piano were one being.  Yet, she did not shut herself off.  That same ability to meld with the instrument was shared by her partners on bass and drums, and they also had the most astounding communication with each other.

Complex rhythms, haunting melodies, versatile technique, subtle dynamics, a treasured performance memory.

I love Canada.  We are not perfect and there is lots of room for improvement, but how can we not appreciate all the good things this country has given us?  True, if you ask me, I might tell you that sometimes, I feel nationalism is a negative thing.  I might tell you that I'm more of an, "I love my world" person and that dividing lines worry me.  But, on the 1st, I celebrated all that is good here.  That is the way it should be on birthdays.  I didn't yell it out loud and I didn't wear red, but I looked around and I was happy.  It is good here.
My building.  No flag on my balcony, but I appreciated the ones that were there.
The family zone of the Jazz Festival in the park across the street.
Freedom to enjoy life..
.. as you choose :)
These languages on the railings by the seawall are explained below.
"You not afraid here." 
"Welcome to the Land of Light" is an art piece by Henry Tsang.
These two young women out walking their dog stopped to give Black Jack a hug.
The railing words say, "Where people talk different but good together."
I fell in love with 13-year-old Malcolm who also stopped by to say "Hi,"
His human was a man, perhaps in his 20's, who told me that Malcolm had had some teeth pulled.
I couldn't read the man's nationality (perhaps Canadian).
I did read his love for Malcolm loud and clear.
This little fellow came roaring along on his bike.  Seriously, he was going FAST!
He screeched (figuratively) to a stop and spent a few minutes gently patting Black Jack.
His dad was fine with this photo. 
There were signs of happy, celebrating people.. 
..all around False Creek.
These people came around a corner, and I quickly lifted my camera.
They noticed, slowed, smiled, waved, and I got the (way overexposed) shot.  
Canada Geese can be found all over North America.  No borders for them,
although I guess some people may not see that as a positive :)
Taken at Granville Island
Also at Granville Island. This just warmed my heart!  
I haven't even touched the surface of the things I appreciate about Canada, but perhaps, you get the idea.  I close with this blue flower, just because it was there, and because all colours are good :)
Thank you so much if you have found the time to read any part of this post.  For more happenings all around the world, I hope you have a little more time to check out the Our World Tuesday web site.


  1. I find old discarded bicycles make the most wonderful decorative features. I have seen some with their baskets transformed into planters. I was particularly taken with the tiny bird (feet?) you photographed, especially the hummingbird. Also thought that the last photo of the house looked awesome bathed in evening light. Your Canada Day commentary is thought provoking. And the accompanying images really convey the celebratory mood that was in the air. Thanks as always for sharing your world, Carol. :)

  2. Bikes, birds, and beasts - great pics! Happy Canada Day.

  3. Loved all of your photos and enjoyed following along on your journey. It looks like that otter has glaucoma in that eye. Ouch!

  4. So many images I can't remember them all, I just remember that I enjoyed each and every one as they went by. Happy Canada Day Carol, thanks for a most excellent post.

  5. A delightful post! I loved the pictures on Saltspring, of young musicians, and of bikes, birds and Black Jack! I agree with you about the noise levels being dangerous to our ears and to our souls. I simply have to leave if the sound is too loud because it literally hurts. Phyllis

  6. Wow, when you post, you do a POST! Love all the components;0 You have the rare ability to capture flowers, animals, birds, as well as people very well. Most photographers I know have a distinct talent for one. It's not fair you're good in all of them!

  7. Wonderful shots. I love those birds.

  8. Okay, Carol, now you are in big trouble - you were 15 minutes away from my place and didn't come visit????? (Just teasing - but next time hop on that little ferry at Vesuvius Bay - I'm less than two blocks from the dock in Crofton!).
    As usual, your photos of birds and other critters and flowers are simply amazing. Your photos inspire me to become more skilled with my own camera.

  9. I love the photos around that island, the hummingbird shot is great!

  10. I love all the shots. The wildlife are always great to see as well as the flowers. The jazz festival looks like such fun. Great sequence. Wishing you a belated Happy Canada Day!

  11. Carol -- I can't remember by the time I get to the end of your posts what I meant to comment on. That's a comment on my (failing) memory, not your posts. Do know I enjoyed all the photos as I scrolled.