Monday, February 6, 2017

Drawing, Discoveries and Catch-up Critters

I Dreamed of posting for 26 Consecutive weeks to Celebrate each letter of the alphabet for ABC Wednesday's final run-through after 10 years with the Current roster of Dedicated hosts at the helm. However, my Decision to learn to Draw as a total beginner, and then to Choose the subject of Critters so that I could satisfy last week's "C" theme and join Eileen's Saturday's Critters, was a Challenge that took me two weeks to Complete.    This on-line lesson came with a video but no instructor, and pausing to piece together the steps to the final image was Discouragingly slow.  I gave up for Days at a time but finally Dug Deep and Completed the lesson. Officially, this is my Contribution for the letter "D" but the Capitalized "C" words (not bold) are a token effort to Catch up the missed post. 

As for the rest of our activities these past two weeks, Bill, Black Jack and I were Delighted to get out on our bikes several times after almost a month of inclement weather.  That was a good thing, as the snow returned on Friday and a Winter Dreamland was the weekend view over David Lam Park from our window.
 This topsy-turvy view was looking Downward to the street below.
On Saturday, I took a video of Bill encouraging Black Jack to Dash through the snow. If you listen carefully, you can hear my gasps of pleasure as I watch them.
During our week of good weather, we went to English Bay a couple of times.  I tried to get some photos of Black Jack but..
her tail-end was the view she presented most frequently.  She was Driven..
 to Delve into each nook and Cranny, Determined to oust any and all critters.
The last time we were there (Thursday, Feb.2), the Divine sun gave just enough warmth in the afternoon to make the ride Doable for the three of us.  This robin..
peered Directly into my camera lens,
before Darting to another branch..
to Demolish the obviously Delicious berries.

We've also been to Olympic Village Park a Couple of times.  You can see my shadow, and that of another person, as I photograph the beaver Dam.
We went there with the specific Desire to see the beaver but didn't get lucky.  The last time s/he made an appearance for us was on July 12th, though some people told us they had seen her/him a half hour before we arrived.
We watched him/her for some time that long ago day in July.  Finding branches looked like Drudgery to me, but I guess,
to a beaver, that's all in a Day's work.
The waves and high-rise reflections in the water made a lovely Display..
as s/he headed Determinedly homeward,
taking the most Direct route possible.
S/he Disappeared through the Door to the nest at this point.
Though we didn't spot beavers on this most recent visit, we saw lots of Ducks.
The sun reflected a Duplicate head to Double the pleasure in this shot. :)
The Drake's mate was ahead, leading him on with a provocative wave..
whenever he was Delayed.
"Just follow me!"
We also saw the Crows heading home to roost, as they do every evening just before Dark.  This is a small section of the sky..
and this next shot is even more zoomed-in.  To see the sky full of crows on a mission is a sight that always Dazzles me.  We've befriended a few crows in our neighbourhood and have named one of our favourites Matilda. She eats from our hand, and knows our outdoor routines, following us when we walk and even on our bikes.  When I ride to the gym in the mornings, I pull over to meet her at the parking metre to feed her a few bits of salmon kibble.  Though we've learned a lot about crow behaviour, we know we've barely touched the surface as far as understanding them fully. I love them and do not consider them Dangerous, but this article tells quite an amusing story of a Vancouver person who's relationship with crows is much more strained. There is Definitely more to Discuss on the topic, so I hope to return to it in the near future. 

I am always intrigued by Athleticism and Discipline, so whenever we go to our "secret" outdoor Court to play pickleball, we walk across the street afterwards to watch the skateboarders under the Cambie Bridge.
I have very little "Daredevil" in my personality, at least when it comes to physical feats, so my respect for someone who can successfully ride a railing..
knows no bounds.  This fellow took a number of painful Dives..
but he wasn't Daunted at all by that.
He did the Drill over and over again and finally had one successful run.  I knew he would have to do it many more times to achieve that feat consistently.

I will turn 70 tomorrow.  I have been a slow learner in life, but the older I get, the more I appreciate having so much left to learn. For one thing, I will have to live a very long time to acquire even a modicum of the knowledge I've missed.  For several years now, Bill and I have read aloud to each other every evening unless we are going out.  We choose a variety of genres and subjects and many stories have affected me Deeply, but the last book we completed stands in a Class by itself. I knew about the Cultural revolution in China and about the Tiananmen Square protests, but this book brought the composers, musicians, writers, and other artists to the front of my mind as never before. It made me think about the Children as well, and I find myself looking at all oppressed people in a new light. Let's just say I highly recommend the book if you are looking for a good read.
Another discovery came about because Bill ordered tickets to see an Early Music Vancouver concert.  Paul, his nephew-in-law, was performing (he is in the front, in the photo below), and Alexander Weimann was conducting, and he knew the performance would be first class, but what I didn't know is that I would meet two new Composers for the very first time.  Hearing their music and learning something of their stories absolutely blew me away. I'll just mention one here; Joseph Bologne de Saint-Georges was born to a plantation owner and his African slave, Nanon. His accomplishments as a violinist, conductor, composer, swordsman, dancer and as an advocate for political equality are truly extraordinary.  You can read more about him here and one of his symphonies can be heard here.  
Alexander Weimann runs on stage in this photo.  He made us smile when he said that he felt like a "pig in mud" to have such a wonderful orchestra under his baton.

Coming back to critters to Conclude the post, I will Cut the Commentary to only the briefest of Descriptions.

Barrow's Goldeneyes on English Bay. 
A female Barrow's pursuing her Chosen mate.
We rode our bikes to Stanley Park and stopped at this court to play pickleball.  Seagulls were lined up on the fence to watch the game. :)
Just to show you we have had bright sunny days quite recently.  Bill had to use his pickleball paddle to shade his eyes when I took his photo.  Lost Lagoon is in the background.
We wrap Black Jack up in a spaceblanket, with one of my sweaters, and then, Bill's down jacket for the topper. We bring a bed and towel to put under her.  She appears to be very comfortable while we play.
As much as we enjoyed the sun, it wasn't warm enough to melt the ice that had formed on Beaver Lake.  The ducks were impressed.
We walked around the lagoon after our game. A chunk of ice glistened in the sun.
We saw an American Coot..
and some seagulls.  They flew in to the little bridge, hoping for..
or should I say, Demanding, handouts.
This mallard seemed to stare Disdainfully.
The mountains and trees..
caught the light and I noted the Distinct Contrast between cold and warm.
A lone heron fished,
perhaps thinking about the mating season that will start soon.
One more sun-on-the-mountain shot.
After our walk, we sat outside to enjoy lattés and cookies.  We had to wrap Black Jack again in her space blanket.

Yet another trip to Olympic Village park.  A female Merganser showed up.
Always love the Colours in Starlings. This one stared in our apartment window.
The last trip before all the snowstorms hit was around Coal Harbour.  We stopped for Black Jack to have a little run.
There was ice on the pond there as well.  These boys broke off a chunk and then entertained themselves throwing it back into the pond.  This clearly thrilled them!
A Towhee..
levitated for a moment.
Here we are at The Buzz, our favourite art gallery café.
You can see through the window that it is snowing, but we are snug and warm and surrounded by art.  We Dawdled as long as possible before leaving.  I hope in this gargantuan post that you have made at least one Discovery to catch your interest.  Many thanks for Dropping by, and many thanks to the ABC hosts and to Eileen, Critter-watcher extraordinaire!  Their links are at the top of the page in case you would like to Contribute your own stories next week.


  1. I like your drawing and the collection of farm creatures all getting along. The pre-snow photos are a nice reminder of the milder weather that is soon to return after our snowfall surprise. Wow … is Black Jack ever enjoying her run in the snow. And Bill sure looks cozy with the snow falling outside. It’s all making me want to curl up with a woolly blanket and hot cup of cocoa. :)

  2. PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Carol!!! Hope it’s one of the best day and year ever! Don’t know why but all the ages that end with zero seem to have a great sense of achievement attached. :)

  3. Great photos as usual Carol. Love the video of Bill and Blackjack playing in the snow. Happy Happy Birthday!

  4. Great photos as usual Carol. Love the video of Bill and Blackjack playing in the snow. Happy Happy Birthday!

  5. Oh, I am so happy to have another BBB post! I wonder who had more fun in the snow.... Black Jack or Bill! I am so thrilled that you are able to watch a beaver in the city. He or she seemed to be doing very well! Phyllis

  6. Happy birthday! I am always awed by your posts!

  7. I hear you got a little bit of the white stuff over the weekend! Our daughter in Abbotsford has a foot in her yard. And I gather there are hundreds of eagles down on the Delta.

  8. Hello Carol. Happy Birthday to you! I love all the photos of Black Jack and Bill. The robin with the berries and the pretty Towhee. The birds are always a treat for me to see, I would love to see the pretty Goldeneyes! I am always happy to see you link up, it is much appreciated. This is a great post and wonderful photos. Have a happy day and week ahead.

  9. Happy Birthday, Carol! Wishing you many more years of health, happiness, love, and fulfillment! AND LEARNING!!! I love your enthusiasm for life and learning and experiencing! You are just like little Black Jack racing around in the snow catching Bill's soft snowballs ~ so much left to enjoy! Hugs and love to you, Bill, and BJ!

  10. Happy Birthday. A very special one indeed. You put so much into your posts that I feel my comments can never do them justice.Perhaps I should just say that I enjoy them very much.

  11. Lovely D's with beautiful photo.s

    And on behave of the ABC-Wednesday-team I congratulate you on your birthday. wishing you all the best and a beautiful new year in your life.

    Have a nice ABC-Wednesday / _ Week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc=w=team)
    (want to take a preview at the new url starting round 21 ?

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