Monday, December 22, 2008

My World Tuesday - Winter Wonderland

Hi everyone! I've missed a couple of Tuesdays because love is in my life again after so many years. But I wanted to share with you the fact that Lotusland (aka Vancouver, Canada) is going to have a white Christmas this year. This is a very rare occurrence because of our normally temperate climate. However, we've been overwhelmed with snow for the last week or so and the forecast is for more snow on Christmas Eve and continuing cold temperatures. On Friday, L and I went walking in a winter wonderland along the river. No one else was around and we could hear our footsteps crunching in the frozen snow. I took my camera and managed to catch a few really good shots of the sun's reflection on some icy spots. We also saw signs that rabbits, birds, and other forest creatures had been out and about during the day. The sky was turning red and ducks were floating in the river as we turned around to head back to the warmth of the car. Lotusland is lovely covered in white, but I sure am looking forward to returning to our usual grey skies and drizzle. It's a lot easier to shovel rain than it is to shovel snow. In the meantime, please enjoy the following photos and be sure to click to enlarge. Also, may I wish each and every one of you the very best of Christmases and a very Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

TMWTuesday - Snow Geese in Ladner

More than 25,000 snow geese from Wrangel Island, Russia, within the Arctic Circle, arrive in Ladner every year around this time. These snow geese are a breathtaking attraction viewed by locals and visitors who come from around the world to see and record this spectacle. As I was driving along Arthur Drive on my way to neighbouring Tsawwassen this morning, I passed fields of snow geese feeding on morsels in the boggy farmland. Quickly turning into the spot where farmers sell corn on the cob from the backs of their trucks in the summer, I hopped out to take a few shots. The noise was deafening as they squawked, probably telling each other to fill up in readiness for the oncoming flight south. Soon the skies will be full of these giant birds as they continue on their Pacific Flyway migration. As usual, click photos to enlarge. To see other TMW photos or to participate, simply click on the link on my sidebar. And thanks to the great group of people who host That's My World Tuesdays.

Monday, December 1, 2008

MM - Fort Langley Railway Tracks

The historic village of Fort Langley was built as a small fur trading post in 1827, leading to the creation of the colony of British Columbia. Historically, the functional Fort Langley had a relatively short life. From beginning to end it lasted some 60 years. The original structure was built by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1827. Due to circumstances resulting from an agreement with the Russian American (Fur) Company more emphasis was placed on the farming operation and the Fort was rebuilt 4 kilometers upstream (east) in 1839. Shortly thereafter it burned down and was rebuilt again in 1840.
Subsequently, Fort Langley entered a period of dramatic growth in economic activity that confirmed its importance politically and geographically. The establishment of the 49th parallel as the international boundary with the US added to its official lustre. Activity in Fort Langley reach its peak with the Gold Rush of 1858. For all intents and purposes all prospectors would depart from Fort Langley on their trek to find fortune. To deal with the potential social and political upheavals caused by this great influx of American adventurers, the British Parliament decided to provide for a crown colony on the Pacific Mainland with James Douglas as the first Governor of British Columbia. Fort Langley was the location of this proclamation on November 19, 1858.
Over the next 30 years, 3 factors contributed to the decline of the community and "the Fort" itself. River traffic was extended to Fort Hope and Fort Yale. The capital of the colony was established at New Westminster (later moved to Victoria). Competition developed for goods and services provided by the Hudson's Bay Company. These factors combined to lower the Fort's stature significantly. By 1886 Fort Langley ceased operations as a company post.
In 1923 Fort Langley was declared a site of national historic importance. In 1955 it was established as a National Historic Park. Restoration was begun for the celebration of the centennial of the Colony of British Columbia. The Fort Langley of today and the community around it provide a welcome respite from the strains and stresses of the "big city", for those who are so inclined. (from here)
I took this photo last February when D#2 and I spent a day in Fort Langley. I go out there about 2 or 3 times a year because it's a really nice drive (about 45 minutes) and I enjoy going to Planet Java, a 50's style restaurant, for lunch or at least a coffee. Also, I like strolling the main street to browse in the shops and perhaps take a peek into the town's huge antique store. I like how this photo looks in black & white as it sort of gives an old-time feeling. Click to enlarge.

Have a great week everyone! If you'd like to see other participants' photos or if you'd like to join in with Monochrome Mondays, just click on the link on my sidebar.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Skywatch Friday - Sunset on the River

A couple of weeks ago, I drove out to Wellington Point along the south arm of the Fraser River. I did a post about it for "That's My World Tuesday" and you can see the entire post here. Between 4 and 4:30 pm, I watched as the sun began to fall in the west and as the layers of clouds surrounded its orb, its light continued to break through causing reflections in the river. Here are just a couple of shots I got that day. Hope you enjoy them. Have a wonderful Friday, everyone, and thanks to the great team that hosts Skywatch Friday. To see other participants' photos or to join in, simply click on the link over to the right on my side bar.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ABC Wednesday - S is for Signs and Seagulls

If you follow my Pedalogue blog, you'll recall that I went over to the Sunshine Coast for 3 days two weeks ago. While there, I saw a lot of signs. Some had strange names or silly things on them and some were quite Striking, so I thought I'd save them for our S-day. Here are just a few that I hope will give you a smile. Of course be Sure to click on the photos to enlarge them. And then at the end, enjoy the video of Seagulls on the Davis Bay Pier.

Monday, November 24, 2008

That's My World - English Bay

Sunday afternoon, Josie and I drove to downtown Vancouver and had lunch at the Boathouse facing English Bay. It's quite something to have a beach in the downtown area of a city and this beach has stunning views of freighters anchored out in the bay and of sailboats casually gliding over the still waters. At least on Sunday there was hardly any breeze. As you can see, we have palm trees in our "Lotusland" and, like most major cities, the hot dog vendors were out in full force because of the sunny and mild weather. As usual, click on the photos to enlarge.

As I scanned the surroundings, I noticed a condo with a tree growing out of its roof. It's bare now, but in other seasons, I imagine it would be a fantastic place to sit under its spreading branches while enjoying the seaside views.

Because there wasn't much of a breeze, not too many sailboats were out, but there were some diehards trying to prolong the season.

A few clouds rolled in, hiding the sun for a while, but I took this shot of several freighters moored out on the bay off the tip of Stanley Park beneath the vari-coloured sky.

The sun continued to attempt to shine through the clouds as it moved west towards the horizon. Today it has dawned clear again but colder. There was a touch of frost on the rooftops, but that doesn't matter much because the sky is a brilliant blue and there's no wind.

To view other participants' photos of "That's My World Tuesday," or to simply take a look at their photos, just click on the link on my sidebar. Thanks to the group who got this going!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

MM - Fort Langley, B.C.

Fort Langley is the exact location where, a century and a half ago, a huge fur trade organization called the Hudson's Bay Company established a small post to trade with the First Nations of the West. Coast. The enterprise grew, evolved, and influenced history, leading to the creation of the colony of British Columbia.
Furs were shipped to Europe via Cape Horn, produce was traded to the Russians in Alaska, local cranberries found their way to California, and Fraser River salmon was enjoyed as far away as Hawaii. In 1858, rumours of gold on the Fraser River caused a massive influx of Americans to the area. Fearing annexation by the United States, British Columbia was proclaimed a Crown Colony on this site by James Douglas on November 19, 1858. Above are some of the buildings within the fort. Below is a photo of old furs still hanging in one of the buildings, a photo of the the building where barrels are made to this day, and some of the barrels. You can actually watch the workers (in traditional garb of the 1850s) make the barrels.

To see other participants' Monochrome Monday shots or to participate, simply click on the link on my sidebar. Thanks to Aileni at Loose Ends for hosting this.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

St. Andrews, Scotland

Here I am 10 years ago at St. Andrew's Golf Course in Scotland on a grey and windy day. Sort of suits today and my mood. But it does bring back good memories of a two-week vacation in England and Scotland with my then 21-year-old daughter. Click to enlarge and you can almost see the bird flying over.

Happy Friday everyone! To see other participants' contributions, simply click on Skywatch Fridays on my sidebar.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wellington Point, BC

Be sure to click on the photos to see them in larger format. You'll be glad you did.
Yesterday, around 3:00 pm, I drove out to Arthur Drive to see if the snow geese were still in one of the farmer's fields. Alas, they'd gone so I decided to drive out to the waterfowl refuge to see if they were over there. On the way, I stopped at Wellington Point, a spot on the south arm of the Fraser River where you can see hunters boating over to the reeds and rushes to shoot ducks. There are wonderful views of the river, a pier to launch small boats, and picnic tables.

The first thing I did was carefully tiptoe down the boat launch to get a shot of the wharf. I had to be careful because it was wet, slippery, and full of holes. I did NOT want to fall in the water!

Then I climbed up on the wharf and took several shots. In this first one, you can see how busy the area is with boats lining up along the shore at the various businesses.

I watched as a family launched their small boat and the father seemed to be giving his son instructions with regard to the hunt they were going on. Notice they have their black lab dog with them. He'll be jumping in the water to retrieve the ducks they shoot.

Just as they headed out, another boat full of hunters arrived back at the little boat launch area and a few minutes later, I heard shots ring out. I'm not sure if I should be thinking, "poor ducks" or "yummy good dinner coming."

The light started to fade a bit but I did get this shot of a seagull perched up on a pole on the wharf. He seemed to be surveying the situation and probably was glad he's a seagull and not a duck.

I thought I better get going if I was going to get any photos of the snow geese, so headed off there. When I arrived, I was happy to see that the parking area was full so I thought I'd get some great shots. But - No snow geese!!! Drat! So I decided to go back and head to another spot along the river where last year about this time of year I'd managed a great shot of the sun through some black clouds.
But first, I stopped to take a photo of Canoe Pass, a well-known float home area along the river. I like how still the water looks and how I caught the reflections of the houses in the river.

Also, along the way, I took this shot of an old barn.

I lucked out with the sunset. This was taken at approximately 4:05 pm, November 16/08 with my Samsung Digimax V700. I love how it looks.

So there you have another peek into My World one cool November afternoon along the river. I'm looking forward to visiting you all to see your world. To view more "That's My World Tuesday" participants, just click on the link on my sidebar.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Monochrome Monday - Seagulls

Click to enlarge and see the detail.

If you've been following my other blog, The Pedalogue, you'll know that I recently spent three days on the lower Sunshine Coast. Our last day there dawned grey and rainy but I did manage to go out onto Davis Pier to catch some photos of the seagulls that hang around there. There must have been at least a hundred gulls sitting on the ledge of the pier, and as I approached, they'd fly off to another area to sit. These were the brave ones that remained until the last possible moment before taking off. I like how this looks in black and white as it reminds me of the day's rather drab colour.