Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Salt Spring Island and Ruckle Provincial Park

Black Jack stepped out confidently and curiously during one of our walks along the water's  edge at Salt Spring Island.  This Our World Tuesday post  will complete the photos taken during our visit there, except for one small story that I am saving for an ABC letter "Z" post. 

She and I both love these rocks.  I am ashamed to know so little of the geology.  Is it sandstone?  A beautiful face emerges as I look down over a furrowed brow at the left, large flat nose towards the middle, and mouth disappearing into a chin that rests on the water.   

With lots of rain lately, there were many tiny waterfalls like this one.
Black Jack and I agreed that mist and clouds were fine as long as the rain held off.      

Back in Raven's home after our walk, it occurred to me that one of the reasons Black Jack and I get along so well is that we share the viewpoint that nature beats television any day.  We were both highly entertained staring out the dining room window. Mrs. Downey Woodpecker kept me laughing as she disappeared into the food supply, surfacing only once in a while for air or perhaps for a look around.

I also loved the chance to really appreciate the red under this Flicker's tail feathers.  One of my photography goals is to get a quality in-flight shot from directly under a Flicker.
I hope this skull and upper jaw (Raven felt it was likely a small otter) won't upset any readers.  

We discovered it during our beach walk and I thought it had its own kind of beauty.
I learned a bit about the facial and tooth structure of an otter but something more as well.  I would have preferred to see the otter alive, but was grateful for this intimate view of its reality.  

I had taken the picture of the skull on the railing of the house, all the while feeling the forest brush the edge of the step. So much life at one's fingertips, and yet,  the greatest part of it hidden.  I could see how fairy tales and fantasies are so often set in the woods and imagined a host of creatures, real and fabricated, living amongst the tangle of trees and undergrowth. 

Bill, Black Jack and I set out for a visit to Ruckle Provincial Park on the last day of our visit.  
Within the park are 200 acres of British Columbia's oldest working farm, settled by Henry Ruckle, and still owned by the original family.

This was only my second visit to Ruckle Park.  Bill had made a special effort to take me there because he knew I had really enjoyed the visit a few months earlier.  The weather wasn't the best, and he had lots of other things on his mind, but that is Bill's way.  He aims to please if at all possible.  Here, he sips a coffee while I take pictures of..  
the barn..

and one of the many turkeys wandering peacefully about the huge property.  As it says in the link above, "These turkeys are free range at its finest."

So often, we visit places, see signs like the one below, and either walk right by, or scan them quickly.  I am learning now to take pictures, because I often go back to read the signs later.  This one is fascinating.  Although I know you probably can't read the information from the photograph, the top painting was completed in 1900 by Henry Ruckle's daughter, Agnes.  She wanted to capture the wharf her father had built before steamer service, when Salt Spring residents had to row across to Vancouver Island whenever they needed supplies.  The government bought and rebuilt that wharf in 1910.  In 1925, it was rebuilt again, and that is the one shown in the second painting by Henry Ruckle's great-grandaughter, Gwen.  Although I'm sure the Ruckles lived incredibly busy lives, they still found time to develop their artistic talent.  Those paintings are still in the family today.  The wharf was finally dismantled in 1960 when the ferry landing was moved to Fulford Harbour.

Bill and Black Jack are at the top of those lovely stone steps.  I imagined, as I followed them, the painstaking labour that must have gone into building them.  
I love that only a small section of this fallen tree was cut to open up the trail.

One of the aspects of the park that I really appreciate is the variety of terrain.  

Perhaps the next time we go, it will be warm enough to sit for a while on this lovely bench.

We only met a couple of people during our walk.This little boy spent a few minutes communing with Black Jack.  
I love turquoise-green water and always wonder how it came to be that shade.  I think the answer varies, depending on the location.  Googling didn't really help me answer my question.  Some sites talked about copper deposits and some about limestone but the Salt Spring web site made no mention of either (that I could find). 
Bill's calming technique whenever Black Jack gets too excited is to pick her up.  It makes me smile, because she doesn't seem to mind at all.  I always have the feeling she is happy to take advantage of the temporary height advantage so that she can survey "her" territory.  
For different reasons, Black Jack and I both found this irresistible.

Bill smiled at this "fence" that seemed dropped from space into nowhere.

And, it was Bill who first spotted..

a Harlequin Duck couple.

They spent the majority of their time skimming the water for food.

I had to time it just right to catch them with their heads up.  I lightened the photograph below in an effort to see this fellow's eyes, but they are so dark, they blend right into his markings.

Beautiful birds, and I do think I see a tiny glint in the eye here.

I couldn't decide if this growth along the bark of a tree was hauntingly beautiful or creepily grotesque.  It made me think of two deformed hands reaching towards each other. Sorry :)

I took two truck shots as we left the park, one of the sheep on the rolling hills..

and one of these deer, almost perfectly camouflaged at the side of the road.

Below, one more aqua-green shot taken at the ferry landing as we waited for the boat back to Vancouver.  I do love preparing these blog posts.  It always feels as though I have enjoyed a good time twice.  Thank you, Bill, and thank you, readers, for stopping by.  To check out fascinating moments in the lives of people all across the world, I hope you will also find time to stop by the Our World Tuesday blog meme.


  1. I, too, love the fallen tree cleverly cut out to become a natural gate. And the stone steps seem so at home in the wilderness terrain. The forest does have hidden places of enchantment and your skull photo reminds me there are also many bones of bygone creatures that rest quietly on its floor. Thanks as always, Carol, for sharing the fantastic finds in your part of the world.

  2. Beautiful images, that tree with just a small section cut out is wonderful. The rocks carved by the water are amazing, I don't know what they are either but have seen them on other gulf islands. Thanks for taking us on a visit to the working farm too, I always see something new when I visit you.

  3. Although the weather was poor you certainly made the most of the scenery. The fence from nowhere and the cutaway tree make for interesting pictures. Also interesting facts about the family and their artwork.

  4. love the barn, love the cool rocks, love the broody skies. sweet black jack and bill. but those ducks are the coolest!!!

  5. I love Ruckle Park. We were there last Easter weekend when it was gloriously sunny and we sat on that bench overlooking the water! We spent the weekend visiting galleries and artist's studios looking for a painting to go over the fireplace. It is a beautiful and friendly island! thanks for the wonderful pictures! Phyllis

  6. Beautiful, so beautiful there, my goodness! Love the barns, of course, & the water color is just awesome =)

  7. I though what part of the UK is this then noticed the birds, we don't have them.

  8. Ruckle Park is one of my very favourite parks in BC - or in my limited experience of the world, for that matter. I never fail to visit it when I'm on Salt Spring. Thanks for bringing back great memories.

  9. I'm with you and Black Jack about those rocks. They are great. All the shots are such a pleasure to look at.

  10. Wow! Absolutely fantastic photography of beautiful places Bill and Black Jack seem so lovable for different reason obviously ~

    (A Creative Harbor) ~ aka ArtMuseDog and Carol ^_^