this is my latest project – a self portrait in clay.

Sadly my aunty June passed away about 3-4 weeks ago and so I made a speedy and short trip over to the UK to attend the funeral. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to see everyone as it was such a short trip, but I hope to return in the spring.

The slide show is just a selection of photos from a few walks and the family at the funeral. The captions tell the story.

For the last 4 days I have taken my house apart and cleaned every nook and cranny and washed and heat dried every bit of bedding etc. The reason – fleas! They are in the grass outside and of course with 2 cats they brought them in. I am allergic to fleas… It also didn’t help that I found the remains of a mouse or rat nest in the back bedroom cupboard. They had eaten through the baseboard in 4 places. Strangely there was no smell…Everything has been bleached.

But I am sure we are flea free at last, but naturally I am feeling pooped. So this morning has been one of leisure, reading and drinking a nice espresso in the garden. Much to my delight a dragonfly was using the pond as a hunting territory and I was able to watch it as it searched for insects, hovered, darted, and generally did its dragonfly thing.

I had time to fetch my camera and to experiment with the manual focus, as the auto-focus couldn’t read the dragonfly – I think because the wings were moving so rapidly. In the end I focused on an object at about the average distance that the dragonfly was flying for most of the time. Amazingly I managed to get 4 photos that at least show the general structure from different angles. I could reconstruct the dragonfly if I needed to draw or paint it. I think it is a California Darner. My camera would need to be much more sophisticated to catch a moving dragonfly in sharp definition.

But I am including 2 dragonfly photos from a few years ago, so that you can see its markings more clearly. I am not sure of the green dragonfly, it might be a skimmer.

I was enjoying my coffee this morning, when I heard what sounded like a chicken being attacked! It wasn’t – it was 2 black squirrels, either squabbling amongst themselves or being cross with Tigaah!. They shot up the robinia, and as you can see took a good look at me. One of them looked and looked and decided I was a safe bet and proceeded down the tree, past me and on its way down the road. The other precariously walked the very swinging cables – it was fortunate it has a tail, because it was really having difficulty staying balanced. The photos in this blog and the previous one are a little larger than usual so please be patient if they take time to load.

 

and I went down to Victoria yesterday and spent a delightful day in Doug and Kathryn’s garden. We were treated to a delicious barbeque lunch and just whiled away the afternoon chatting and drinking tea. They have created a beautiful outdoor living space. here are a few photos of the garden.

This weekend I had the good fortune to be visited by Gayla and Becca from Seattle and Dan from Albuquerque. I picked them up from the Clipper terminal in Victoria on Saturday morning and the tour began! A walk around Victoria (the Busker Festival was on), a meander through the Empress, a drive along the waterfront, and a wonderful walk and cream tea in the Abkhazi Gardens. Most of the photos in the slide show are of the wonderful flowers and plants that are surviving despite the current prolonged dry spell. We drove the slow scenic route back to Ladysmith and had a quiet supper chez moi.

Sunday we hiked the Holland Creek Trail down to the Ladysmith waterfront and marina. Lunch was at the Beantime and then time to drive them back to Victoria to catch the 5.30 ferry back to Seattle. The traffic – it has increased….

A lovely but far too short a weekend – click on an image to start the slide show.

 

From June 30 – July 4th I had the pleasure of teaching a lovely group of artists willing to try their hand at botanical illustration. They were enthusiastic and hard working and as you can see from the photos, they achieved a great deal in the week. A very delightful experience, and I would highly recommend that anyone reading this blog checks out the MISSA website. A wonderful way to spend a week in the company of artists, in a terrific setting.

Just click on an image to start the slide show.

An enjoyable time was had by all as we walked our merry way from Maple Bay to Crofton last Easter Saturday. Walkers were Jean Irwin, her brother Tony and wife Alison, son Simon and friend Karina, daughter Charlotte and friend Mark and little old me! The walk took around 4 hours through drizzle, cloud and a dash of sun. We made it to the pub in the Crofton Hotel just before the real rain hit. I really enjoyed a ginormous cappuchino! A few photos from the trip – click on any to start slide show.

Today I drove to Port Alberni to visit my friend Sandra. It takes about an hour and a half to drive there usually and depending on the traffic. I just made one stop at Cathedral Grove where the ancient trees tower above us. As today was a day of mist and fog, with very little blue sky and sunshine, the light was quite subdued. All the following pictures of Cathedral Grove and Port Alberni are therefore rather flat.  Click on one of the images to open the slide show.

Churcher-A-Accordion

Churcher-H-Handel

Asides

July 15 - Today was a creative day - 5 new ideas for book projects...

Bug finder

If you need to identify an insect, try the website: http://www.whatsthatbug.com/ They have a huge number of images and postings from people trying to identify insects.
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