Welcome to the Island Rambles Blog

Welcome to my blog world. This is a photo blog, poetry and short story blog about my life on Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. I take photos of the birds and scenery I find. I hope you enjoy your time here and please come back again. PHOTOS WILL ENLARGE IF CLICKED. The photos are slide show enabled if you click on them. If you click on the top lighthouse photo it always takes you to the most recent summary list of my postings. I am also at my Facebook Page Island Rambles or Islandrambles at YouTube.


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year

This year is the year of the Water  Dragon.  It is the Chinese year 4710 and started on January 23, 2012.  We had our parade on Sunday here in Victoria, B.C. Canada.  The parade goes through our China Town streets.  The smoke effect in the background is from the fireworks.  I know it looks like a lot of the shots are out of focus but it really is just smoke. This blog is for Our World Tuesday and also for Ruby Tuesday2.  Check out the links as you will find more photos of our world blogging community.
The parade had lots of Lion and Dragon dancers.
This year of the Dragon is supposed to be a very powerful year and also a year of good luck.
People celebrate with fireworks and feasting.
The Lunar New Year is the time of the biggest family reunions.
In ancient times the dragon was a symbol reserved for the Chinese emperor.

The New Year festivities continue for fifteen days.
In Chinese culture the dragon is a positive symbol standing for power, strength and good luck.
The year of the water dragon only occurs every 60 years.  You can see more of the smoke from the fire crackers that they throw on the street. 
In the Chinese zodiac the dragon is the fifth sign and the only one which is a mythical creature.

There are lots of preparations for the New Years celebrations,  the house has to be cleaned before the start or all your luck goes out the door. 

This was the most difficult shooting I ever have done as there was such a large crowd and I could not get to the front of the line as I am not the most pushy person.  Someone was always putting an arm or hand in front of me or holding up a camera in front of mine.

Doors and windows can be painted red as red keeps evil away.  I found the best shots were at the end of the parade when the crowd wandered off and I was the only crazy paparazzi chasing them.

The dragon will suppress  wrong doers it is believed.
You can see a really old brick building in the background here.
In our local parade we had both the white dragon and the black one.  There were many children participating and it must have been so exciting for them.
As they passed this art store I loved the colors in the background.

I hope you enjoyed the parade, our weather here on Vancouver Island has been very dark and gloomy so I had to recycle some of my past photos for this blog as we had heavy rain showers on the day of the parade.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Timmy the Star

Today it is Camera Critters...check out the wonderful shots of everyones pets.  This is Timmy the terrible who has come to visit me for a while.  This is her dreamy look just before she attacks you.  She has many looks and moods just like a movie star.  Her favorite is to roll on her belly and look really cuddly and cute and just as you reach down to pat her belly she transforms into a wild cat and it is all claws and teeth and rolling about.
Sometimes she likes to look way way up for birds or anything that resembles a bird....even a fly.  She believes she is fierce and will jump into action when there is anything that moves through her air space.  And she is an expert at making involuntary chin wagging squeaks and squeals when she sees a bird out the window.

Here she keeps one eye open just to be sure that her siesta does not make her miss some food.  She is just barely tolerating whatever it is I am doing to try to get this shot.... probably standing on my head. I am disturbing her royal highness.
Then I changed my white balance from shade which gives you such warm colors to sunlight and the colors become cool. I prefer to keep my white balance on shade or cloudy almost all the time unless it distorts the colors way too much as Canon has such cold auto settings.  Here we  have the ears back and very annoyed look and about to attack.   She can't believe I am still taking pictures of her.
Timmy says look at the strange toys she gives me ....can I eat it?  She will try to eat anything and everything.  She ate a needle once and lived to tell about it.  She is called Timmy because they did not know she was a girl and they liked South Park Timmy.

Ahhhhh....a nice nap after a long hard day of playing and eating.   That is a day in the life of Timmy the terrible.  Is she a star or not?  What do you think?  (This is a slight deviation in my normal mode of blogging as Timmy was way too adorable not to share with you!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blue Sky Again

Back for Sky Watch Friday and follow into Weekend Reflections, two of the very popular themes for bloggers to play with. Have a look at some of the photos there.   I took these shots a few weeks ago when we noticed this popcorn cloud above Beacon Hill Park and the tall totem which is in the park facing the water.

This shot is from Anderson Hill just above Beacon Hill park.  Beacon Hill park is named for the two beacons which used to be placed there and if you could see through the triangle beacon then you were on Brochie Ledge and probably going to be in some kind of sinking trouble! You would be at risk of running up on the reef.

Beacon Hill was originally the burial site for the First Nations Coast Salish and a beautiful spot it was for them with a view of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains in Washington. This totem was the tallest in the world when it was made but now is the fourth tallest.  It is 38.8 metres tall and was carved by Mungo Martin, a Kwakwaka'wakw carver and erected in 1956.
Then we moved onto Fisherman's Wharf and I saw some reflections there. You can see portions of the inner harbour of Victoria B.C. on Vancouver Island here in the background.  It is a pretty harbour for the middle of a city to have. The Coast Salish, Songhees lived here originally and along the Gorge nearby there are shell middens dating back 4000 years.
These are the boat houses on the wharf.  People go there and have amazing fish and chips and feed herring to the seals. You can also go on whale watching trips, rent kayaks or board a pirate ship.  I go there and wander along the dock as usual.  Looking at boats.  The light is terrible there on the dock in the afternoon for shots as it goes into shade quickly.
It is a busy harbour as the sea planes and ferries are coming and going constantly.  There are small ferry boats to take you across to the other side and in summer there are many festivals going on all along the waterfront. The entire city dresses up in summer with gigantic flower baskets on every light stand and it is a tourist attraction for people to visit here.

Hope you enjoyed  a peek at the harbour and have a great weekend.  Thanks to all the bloggers for stopping by. I started blogging in 2006 and then I quit blogging for a long time and I removed most of this blog, so it is nice to start to build my readers again and to see some of the bloggers that I used to know return and pop in.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cowichan Sky

Cowichan Bay area is our theme today and it is for Sky Watch Friday and also I will blend it into the Weekend Reflections as it is a nice combination for me mostly. Check out the other bloggers there for some great photos.
We were here at Cowichan a few weeks ago.  Now we are snowed in.  These two shots show the estuary of the river where it is a popular birding and nature area. There are swans and ducks, eagles shore birds, cormorants and sea lions.
Now we have moved on to the Hecate Park area on Cowichan Bay Road and the boat launch.  Here you can have a picnic, launch your boat into Cowichan Bay or spend the day on the beach or browsing the stilt houses along the walkway of the village.
This is the Welcome Figure at Hecate Park.  He was carved by Herb Rice of Cowichan Bay and placed here in 2008 to welcome the athletes to the North American Indigenous Games.  These welcome figures are usually placed at the entrance of the village or long house.
I liked the boat launch.  In 1987 the park was revitalized and also in 2007.  Pictures will click bigger.
I wonder if he is welcoming you or intimidating you with his frown.  In the early records of 1854 when James Douglas came on a canoe expedition of the tribes here, it records them as being very fierce. They endeavoured to protect the rich land they had...it was rich in fish and deer and other sea life.  They had sheltered bays and coves and lots of wood and fresh water.  Life was good.  However colonial civilization came and a warboat was sent from Esquimalt to attend to the natives and they soon became "few in number, peaceable and quiet" to the acceptable standards of the settlers. (from the Report of a Canoe Expedition)
With this previous wealth the great Cowichan tribe had divided into many small tribes of which became the historical tribes of the area today...such as the Saanich, the Somenos, the Quamichan, the Koksilah, Chemainus and more.
The name Cowichan comes from the Coast Salish "khowutzun" which means "back warmed by the sun" or "warm country".  This area is the earliest development north of Victoria which started in the 1850's as a Hudson Bay Fort.
Hecate Park is named after the HMS Hecate which arrived in 1862 with a load of settlers who soon built a hotel and store.  Once again we are at the end of my story.  Check out the links above for some good photos.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ABC of Boats

I am returning to the new series of  ABC Wednesday and we start with "A" as you can see my contribution is in boats and docks. This is round 10 of Mrs. Nesbitt's great idea. This lovely boat was snapped at the dock in Cowichan Bay about a week ago ...I like the color and it had the appropriate A name too.  What luck!  It was a warm sunny day before the snow. (I found the new Ruby Tuesday 2 so I will try to link in to them also.)
Then a few days ago we were at the dock in Sooke harbour and I realized that I was on the "A" section.  So snapped that also.  John Muir's historical notes state that the correct spelling of the Sooke harbour should be Soke after the Soke tribe.  Probably an Anglicized version of the actual  tribal name.
Muir says that the Soke tribe was the most hardy tribe on the coast and no individual tribe would meddle with them until in 1848 three other coastal tribes joined and nearly wiped out the Soke.  The name the First Nations of this area now is written as T'Sou-ke and they have many wonderful cultural traditions.
The Sooke inlet was surveyed in 1846 by Captain Henry Kellet of the vessel Herald and the spelling of the name of the harbour was adapted as Sooke.  That is what we call it today.  Hope you like the boats. Well that is it and hope to see more of the ABC Wednesday group.  We have a lot of snow here and plan to get some of my shots of it in soon.