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Galiano Island

Galiano Island ferry dock

Galiano Island ferry dock

 Last weekend I had the chance to go over to Galiano Island. It’s one of  many Gulf Islands in the San Juan Islands and is a long finger of land. Galiano can be reached by a ferry that takes a little less than an hour. We walked on and paid about $20 for a round trip (prices vary going and coming and depending on the season). And for some reason on the ferry rides in both directions the people who left their car alarms on were always driving BMWs and Audis. Folks, if you’re on a ferry, no one is going to steal your car. There is nowhere to go and if they’re breaking in and you don’t hear the alarm, what’s the point? At least the workers made humorous announcements about the alarms.

Rain was the forecast but Saturday turned into a lovely day, warm and fairly clear. This allowed the deer to come into my friends’ yard and have their lunch of windfall apples. There was the mother and a fawn with a few spots still visible on the coat, as well as a yearling that sometimes got chased away. But they were too happy to chomp away and the mother couldn’t be bothered most of the time.

The fawn still has its spots.

The fawn still has its spots.

We also went off to this property where various pieces of rusting metal, old chairs, metal drums, tanks, motors, etc. were ensnared in abundant blackberry bushes. If we ever needed an impenetrable barrier during a war, this guy could do it. The blackberries were plump and juicy so that over the weekend we had blackberry martinis, ice, strudel and just plain ole berries with peaches.

There are quite a few galleries on the island and we made rounds to three openings over two days. One is a little wood style building, nicely laid out, bright and airy called Insight Art Gallery. I can’t remember its name but it had a display of hand painted glass, some jewellery and the opening show of Ingrid Fawcett’s paintings, which were of Chinese lanterns and flowers. The next gallery was I believe the Island’s Edge Gallery, which had a store and a little courtyard (and really awful wine for the opening) plus the gallery. This gallery had paintings, sculpture, ceramic, etchings and a few other items by different artists. There were some great carved pieces including a unicorn head that would have looked better without the horn and a mermaid. The etchings were my favorite but I can’t remember the artist’s name.

Oceanfront Hotel

Oceanfront Hotel

The Oceanfront Hotel (actually condo suites that open on the water) and Spa also has a gallery and we went to that on Sunday. It had some art outside like homemade bird condos (birdhouses but fanciers), a few sculptures and then an gazebo shaped builP1010079ding with more sculpture and art in it. The grounds were very lovely with a small manmade pond and waterfall, a herb garden with some awesome artichoke plants, and a small tranquil Japanese style pond with a big goldfish.

I’ve only been to Galiano once before and we drove up the length of the island. It’s is a wooded island with fir and cedar trees, and some sequoia, and various cabins right up to fancy houses. The population is around 3000 in the summer. The beaches are often sandstone and rocky, which makes for interesting rock formations but there seems to be limited sandy beach. There are many gulf islands and small rock outcroppings that can be seen from different vantage points. I found it peaceful and a nice pastoral getaway. At some point I’ll probably go over again to hang out and do some writing.


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Fall and Farmer’s Markets

On Saturday I suffered the pain of a mammogram. For some people it doesn’t hurt and for some, like me, it’s excruciating. The attitude of the technician was as if I was being a petulant child and causing a ruckus because the plate had “barely touched” me. I most assuredly was not and the fact that my breast and arm are still sore can be attributed to that. I’d like to clamp that woman’s breast as hard as mine were and see if she didn’t squeal in pain. Meh.

Anyways, on the way home I stopped by the Farmer’s Market at Trout Lake park. It’s a combo of bakery items, olives, jewellery, pottery, cutting boards, cheese, meats, vegetables and fruits. There are some repeats along the veggie lines but some variety from one to the other. I still find it pretty hard to pay $2 for four carrots though. Everything is supposed to be organic, from the beef to the beets.

I don’t get to the market often but I like to get items I can’t normally get, or in the case of tomatoes, something with tastes. Whether hothouse grown or not, tomatoes these days have no flavor. They’re red globes of water so I definitely buy organic. I have a cherry tomato plant growing at the front of the yard and it’s getting quite a few fruits now, somewhat late due to the cool year. But I also bought some cherry tomatoes at the market, with dark red and green streaks. They are very tasty.

I bought a smoked turkey haunch (something I can’t get usually), some crimini mushrooms, a variety of Italian squashes and zucchini, hot Tunisian olives and a pair of earrings with lampworked beads. The market is in a parking lot with many people talking, musicians playing, dogs barking and a few people on their cell phones. I was one, talking to my friend about the evening, while I looked at the jewellery, when this woman beside me burst out, “Oh for heaven’s sake!”

I looked up and she said, “I came here to get away from cell phones,” and stormed off. Well, lady, I came here to get away from judgmental people. Yeesh, what business was it of hers. I wasn’t driving (thank god) and there was enough ambient noise for everyone. There certainly was no sign that said, only barefoot hippies in homespun with no technology allowed. It didn’t ruin my day.

When I got home I took notice of the changing leaves. That fall chill is already in the air. The apple tree in the back yard is dropping its apples. We never eat them because they’re a 100-year-old variety that tends to be soft and mushy. My landlady takes them to the deer on Galliano Island. The pear tree, also 100 years old, developed rust a couple of years ago and now produces fewer, blighted pears. The plum tree has already seen its season come and go. The strawberries are on another burst and producing more fruit. Daisies, echinacea and gladiolas are getting ready to bloom. In some areas they already have. My neighbor has these huge, head-sized dahlias in amazing colors.

So fall is not yet here but the leaves are turning a bit, and others are just going brown. If we continue to get some more sun, like this last week, it will extend the growing period. I’m hoping for this because it’s been such a wet and cold year. The longer we can hold back the wintry weather, the better. Though like I said, that chill is already in the air in the mornings. And fall has not officially arrived quite yet.

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