Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stocking Lake Walkabout

  It's been over a couple of weeks since I last visited Stocking Lake south of Ladysmith so I thought the wild flowers that we saw that time would be nearly full grown.  I was wrong.  It's been so dry that they haven't quite matured yet but they still are worth a look.  The Gnome plants (Hemitomes congestum) were almost completely matured as seen in the first photo here.  We found several more of these plants on our walk but this one was the best of the bunch.  For a plant that is supposed to be somewhat rare we were surprised to find so many.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Where There's Smoke There's

SALMON ...  at least in this household.  The northern rivers on Vancouver Island are once again full of returning Pink salmon and for the price of a salt water license one can "collect" four of these silver protein bundles.  What better way to guarantee your daily intake of Omega 3 oils?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Work Work Work ...

   Spent all day patching the waterfall for my koi pond when I'd much rather be walking a trail in the bush.  I've been bypassing the waterfall using the black pipe to the right of the picture for all of last winter and my wife seemed to think it was time to get it fixed.  The patching material I bought was supposed to set up in 15 minutes so the directions said to only mix small quantities.  An hour later it still wasn't completely set so it took all day to complete what I thought was going to only be an hour job.  Serves me right for starting the job.  The damn koi don't care weather the water came over the rocks or out of a pipe so why should my wife.  Anyway we'll see if the level in the pond has dropped by morning.  If so then I didn't get all the leaks patched. 

Anyone think I'll make it to winter before I have to start patching again?

Friday, July 16, 2010

The REDS Are Coming

    I've lived on Vancouver Island for more years than I care to remember and I witnessed a spectacle last night for the first time.  I've heard all the warnings in the past  about red tides that make it unsafe to collect food in the ocean when this event occurs.  Well this is what they look like "up close and personal".  I had been invited to a BBQ in Chemainus and as soon as we walked out on the deck we were witness to this view.  Our host happened to mention that we were having crabs as appetizers that he had caught the day before right in front of his property. 

Wonder if he believed that I had just become a vegetarian a couple of hours before ....

Crab Cocktail?

This is the second time I've gone to Nanoose Bay to collect clams and come across a dead crab.  This one was almost 6 inches across the carapace and had no obvious signs of injury.

Not big enough to have died of old age ... 
No visible damage ...
Do crabs commit suicide?  Obviously not by drowning ... 

A moment of silence ....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Caffeine Free?

  Mid-July in Nanaimo and the roadsides are covered with this flower right now.  For those that like their coffee decaffeinated this is certainly the time to do some collecting.  This striking blue flower is known as Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus) but is also known as blue sailors, succory and coffeeweed. 

The cultivated varieties are grown for their leaves or roots which are baked then ground for a coffee substitute or additive.  As you can see in the photo above they have huge roots for such a small plant.  I'm still looking for someone who has tried these "wild" or "common" plants in their coffee.  
  Hmmmm ... Anyone interested in the franchise to supply Timmy's  .... 

Sunday, July 11, 2010


   A look back at a great day picking Lobster mushrooms (Hypomyces lactifluorum).  This is not actually a mushroom but a parasite that has completely engulfed it's host mushroom.  There are those that are concerned about eating this because it is impossible to identify exactly which mushroom was the host.  Generally it is either a Lactarius (milk cap) or a Russula such as Russula brevipes.  Be that as it may they are widely eaten and enjoyed for their seafood-like flavour.  It's obvious looking at them where they got their common name as they really do resemble a cooked lobster.  If they do have one drawback it's got to be how difficult they are to clean.  Lucky for me this is where I call on my wife to get involved in my passion. 
She washes I dry .....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Indian Pipe and Catch Of The Day

     It looked like a good day for a walk in the bush.  The forecast was for a very warm day so a walk along the edge of a lake promised at least the hope of cool breezes.  We hadn't walked for long when we came across a small cluster of of emerging Gnome plants.  They look so tasty it's hard to restrain myself.

     We hadn't walked another hundred yards when we came across some very small Indian Pipe (Montropa uniflora)beside the well worn trail.  We could see where some of them had been crushed by the careless footsteps of other hikers.  It really amazes me how people can miss something so obvious to those who aren't legally blind.

And then we found the "Catch of the day" ...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Collecting In Columns

   Remember those ads several years ago for columnar apple trees that had been bred to simply produce fruit in the smallest area possible?  Well they really do work.  This tree is over 6 feet tall and just over a foot wide.  As you can see there is no shortage of apples this year and all my other "normal" apple trees have hardly any fruit on them.  I was sure with the shortage of bees around this spring that it would not be great for fruit but this tree seems to have ignored that problem.  Only one final hurdle ....  what will the fruit taste like?  I mentioned within hearing distance of the tree that if the apples aren't superb that I'm firing up the chainsaw.

Apple wood is good for smoking salmon isn't it?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Organic ---- Farmers?

   What an opportunity!  Visiting Nanaimo's downtown farmer's market gives unsuspecting yuppie shoppers yet another reason to dig deep in their pockets for another piece of plastic to pay for overpriced "organic" goods.    Also can someone please explain to me what a foot massage has to do with a "farmer's market"?
    And while I'm on this rant can someone explain to me why local produce is almost twice the price of local stores?  Is anyone else aware that local produce should not have shipping costs added to it's price?  Shouldn't that make it somewhat less expensive to bring to market than the same type of produce that was just shipped in from Australia?

Just asking ....