Waxing Gibbous?

“Waxing gibbous”…. This expression made me think of a group of gibbons depilating themselves. After all, the hairless chest is the look these days (in some people’s opinion).

But no, waxing gibbous refers to when the moon is waxing (growing) towards becoming fully illuminated by the sun.

I learned a new word today when I finally looked up “gibbous” instead of just using the word ignorantly. It means “convex or protuberant” – sticking out, like bulgy eyes. I think they used that choice of words because the gibbous phase of the moon is when it is more than half but not quite full.

I grew up with the phrase “the man in the moon” and I still see two eyes and a mouth when I look at the moon.

However, while visiting in Baja,  I met a friend there who told me they call it the rabbit in the moon, “el conejo en la luna.”  Sure enough, when I looked for a rabbit, I saw it. There he is in the photo below. He’s facing to the left with his long floppy ears streaming over his back. Do you see him? They even have a legend about how he got there.

Quetzalcoatl was tired and hungry. He had traveled far, so he sat down by the side of the road to rest. A little rabbit came along and chatted with him. When the rabbit learned that Quetzalcoatl was hungry, he offered him vegetables to eat, but Quetzelcoatl said he didn’t care much for veggies. He needed something more substantial.

“But I’m only a small insignificant rabbit, and this is the only food I have to offer,” the rabbit said.

Quetzalcoatl was moved by the humility and generosity of the rabbit and he rose up to the moon with the rabbit. He said, “Now you will no longer be insignificant, but be seen and admired by everyone forevermore.”

My own opinion about this legend is, that’s all very nice, but no one asked the rabbit if he wanted to spend the rest of his life up there on the cold lonely moon. It reminded me of people who help blind people cross the road when all they wanted to do was stand on the street corner.

So what do you see? The man or the rabbit? Or both?

Whichever you see, as of this morning’s full moon, it is no longer waxing, but will start waning. Sigh, now I should do a post about Wayne….

Snowy Quilting Retreat

It was to be four days of quilting without the worry of cooking or cleaning. We would be served all meals and not have to wash dishes or clean house. All we had to do was sew and take breaks to enjoy the beauty of the lodge and its surroundings.

The view from the lodge is breathtaking.

About a two-minute walk from the lodge was the guest house where I had a room. The stairs were cleared, salted, and sanded. Everything was well looked after on the grounds. We congratulated ourselves on braving the snowy driving conditions to arrive at this gorgeous retreat. Only a bit of snow was left.

But on the second night it snowed heavily before warming up in the morning. The snow was perfect for making a snowman — or for someone to take a dive down the stairs.

I stepped out to go to the main lodge for breakfast, and took ten of the twelve steps on my bum. My camera flew over the railing and I bump-bump-bumped all the way down the stairs. Humiliated, I got up and crept around the bottom of the steps to retrieve my camera, luckily in its case. I shook off the shock and took a step to continue on my way. (Imagine this picture with about six inches of fresh snow covering everything.)

Wham! I was on my back again, this time wrenching my shoulder in an effort to catch my fall.

 

For the next two days I sewed and watched others sew beautiful things. My project remains unfinished, although I worked on it steadily. I’ll post it another time. But I can show you a few of the things other quilters made.

Placemats.

More placemats (this one is a work still in progress).

A table runner.

Some unfinished quilts.

 

And a beautiful tote bag with unique side pockets.

In spite of my side trip down the stairs, I had a great time. It was fun and a great learning experience to work with so many talented quilters.

 

Soon, Soon, Soon

Soon my rhodos will bloom and put a smile on my face, like they did last May when I took this photo.

But right now, the poor thing is suffering from yet another load of snow.  I took the broom after I snapped a photo of the snow covering, and swept off some of the clumps of snow.

Speaking of sweeping off snow, early this morning the heat pump made feeble noises as it tried to come on. While I stood there in my housecoat, waiting for the dogs to do their morning ablutions and other things, I swept about six inches of snow off the top of the heat pump. The feebly struggling motor suddenly blasted into action and blew the last load of snow up the sleeve of my housecoat. OH! BRRRR!  NOW I WAS FULLY AWAKE!

The little Toyota truck, 25 years old now, is still going strong, but before its next trip we will need to do a “search and rescue” mission for it. I think it’s under there someplace. Good thing it’s bright red. Yes, I think I see it there.

More snow is on the way, but today is supposed to be the last day of it and then, if we aren’t completely snowed in, we can try to get back to normal.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Driving along beside the Comox estuary yesterday, I nearly disrupted traffic in my panic to pull off the road to take a picture. I hadn’t expected the sunset to be so spectacular over the glacier. For that matter, I hadn’t SEEN the glacier for days and days with all the cloud cover.

Next to the glacier are the bumps in the hills that the locals have called The Sleeping Princess. Unfortunately I can’t be sure which shapes represent which features of her lying there. But it’s fun to imagine.

Not even 24 hours later, we have a complete change in the weather. No more lovely sunset; just a total whiteout. My backyard with its gnarly fruit trees looks like a black and white photo.

Emma has to check out what this white stuff is.

She’s amazed at how much of it is coming down.

The warmth of sun behind the hills

Is fine for curing winter chills

But who could know the change ahead

Birds shake feathers, snow to shed,

Yesterday they picked and ate,

Now with snow, their breakfast’s late.

Giant snowflakes blanket all

How I miss the robin’s call.

Emma likes a powdery run

But the cold is not much fun,

She’s content to sniff the deck

Wondering just “What the heck?

Think I’ll go back where it’s warm

Where they’ll pet my sleeping form.

There I’ll wait till winter’s done

And we see the warm spring sun.”

 

 

Bird’s Eye View

I looked out at the sunny (cold) day this morning. Someone else was also looking. Do you see him at the top of the fir tree? It’s a good place to spot potential targets for food — maybe a crippled duck, or some small creature in a field, or even a  victim of overnight road kill.

I stepped out onto the deck and took about 30 wiggly photos. I leaned against a deck post and tried 20 more. Finally I managed to get a photo that was recognizable, if not sharp. The camera has a 43X zoom so this is the best it can do without a tri-pod. I often wish for a BIG telescopic lens but then there is the weight to consider. Also, these subjects don’t often hang around long enough for me to get set up.

But we can see his “eagle eye” and the sharp tearing beak. It must be breezy up there, judging by his feathers being ruffled on the windward side.

It is a lean time of year for the eagles. They work hard to find some unsuspecting, usually sick or starving, bird to feed on. But soon, the herring will be coming close to the beach to spawn, and then the eagles will be “living off the fat of the land” (and sea).

Toasty Coasties

We’ve been warned for a week or two that  north winds are coming to give us one last icy kiss before we waltz into spring. What a blow to us west coasters who are mostly used to (relatively) warmer temperatures and wind and rain.

The night before the chill was to hit,  our one sunny day disappeared as our prevailing southeast winds brought in more rain clouds. It almost had me doubting the weatherman’s prediction.

But overnight, the skies cleared and the stars sparkled like crystals over frosty lawns.

The next day the clouds moved in again, but this time from the north. They sat heavily on the hills, waiting for night when the sneak attack was to occur.

Sure enough, in the wee hours of the morning,  a biting cold wind blew flakes in every direction. Some flakes even spiraled upwards as if to undo the snowfall. A coat of white fluff barely covered the ground, but more is on the way.

I rushed out to refill the birdfeeders and put suet out for the fussier birds. When I went out onto the deck later to take this picture, the birds scattered into the shrubs, and I was too chilled to stand there waiting for them to return.

Across the street, my neighbours’ lovely willow is calling for spring, but with this ugly turn of events, the fuzzy buds are lucky to have a fur coat. They’ll need it to weather the chilly week ahead.

 

So  it seems that no one in Canada, not even this Toasty Coasty, is escaping the deep freeze  after all.

Seafood Hits the Spot

Three girlfriends went out for lunch today to a restaurant we had been to twice before. Each time we all ordered the same thing – calamari. We didn’t even know that we each loved squid so much.

This restaurant is by the water, near the wharf in the town of Campbell River on Vancouver Island. It was an easy 40-minute drive for us and well worth it.

We talked about making calamari at home, but our problem was the lack of available squid. Yes, we live by the sea, but the only squid I know being caught is used for bait for other fisheries. I would gladly eat fish bait! If only we could buy it.

We went to a tiny fish shop at the town wharf to see if they might have squid. No luck. They had all kinds of seafood, even lobster from the east coast (we are on the west coast), but no squid. We just don’t have enough of a squid culture here to support a commercial fishery for squid.

But while we were at Crabby Bob’s fish shop, now run by Crabby Abby (who is really sweet – not crabby at all), we had a look around. The seafood was fresh and clean. We were impressed and will probably come back one day to buy some of her product.

Outside the shop on a little patio not in use today because of the rain, we saw a great crab made of wood, a perfect mascot for Crabby Bob’s (or Abby’s).

 

Here he is from another angle.

Watch out for those pincers.