Limited Vision?

On May 9, 2017, British Columbia will hold provincial elections to decide which party will govern the province for the next four years. 85 members of the Legislative Assembly will be elected. Currently, of the 85 seats, 48 are held by the Provincial Liberal Party, 35 by the New Democratic Party, 1 Green, and 1 Independent.

I was driving along one of our neighbourhood streets and I noticed that one of the parties had chosen an unfortunate place to put up a campaign sign. By the way, this party did the same thing four years ago. Ask any realtor and they’ll tell you what is important. Location, location, location!

To me, this sign makes a statement. Not only is it saying that its vision is limited, but anyone can see that its platform is garbage.

I’m sure the candidate whose name appears on the sign is not aware of this faux pas (for the second time in four years), but perhaps she should be? Or she should get someone else to work on her campaign. Right now, I’m feeling rather sorry for her.

Cumberland, B. C.

The town of Cumberland on Vancouver Island came into being in the late 1800s. Most of the residents were there to work or support the new coal mining operation. By 1924 the population had grown substantially with a Chinatown population of about 2000, the second largest Chinatown on the west coast of North America.

These historic buildings have the Cumberland Museum attached on the right. You would be surprised if you went into the museum to find that you can go downstairs into an actual coal mining area to see just how it was done.

I’m sorry that I can’t explain how the equipment below was used in mining the coal, but it makes sense to assume that the wagons were filled with coal and taken out of the mine on underground railway tracks.

The machinery below is a mystery to me, but it must have been used to extract the coal or load the wagons. Perhaps there is a mining expert out there who can help us with this.  Please feel free to comment and offer any help you can about how the coal mining was done.

Coal mining is a very dangerous job, not only because of the danger of fire or collapse of the mine shafts, but because of the high risk to a miner’s health. The coal dust was particularly bad for the lungs, as were the gases released by the underground excavating. From time to time the dust combined with the gases suddenly ignited. Methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide combined with nitrogen, and hydrogen sulphide  were common threats. Open pit mining, while not pretty, is much safer by comparison.

I shudder when I think of going underground into a small space. Miners spent long hours down there, working in a dangerous job under terrible conditions just to make enough money to feed their families.

In August of 1922, an explosion in one of the mine shafts killed 13 people, and in February of the following year another explosion killed 33 more (both white and Chinese).

After the depression, many of the Chinese workers either went back home or went to Duncan or Nanaimo to go logging instead of mining. Desperate times, for logging was not much safer than mining, but at least they were out in the fresh air.

The Inside Scoop

What goes on at a quilting retreat? Here’s a peek at the inside of the lodge at Camp Homewood on Quadra Island, off Vancouver Island.

The lodge has an old part and a  new part. This is the old part, with a huge fireplace (that couldn’t be used this year until the chimney gets an upgrade and inspection). About 40 quilters have set up their sewing machines. They have brought tons of supplies and fabrics from home to finish up old projects or start new ones.

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They hang their completed projects from the upstairs railing to bring inspiration to their fellow quilters.

Some of the living quarters (bedrooms and bathrooms) are on on the upstairs and downstairs of this big meeting room.

On the distant left (below, at the bottom of the stairs) you can see a doorway that goes through to the new part of the lodge.030

Standing in that doorway, I took one more photo of the old room so you can see the setup there, and then I turned  …

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and took this photo of the new part where more quilters had their machines set up. In the foreground of the photo below, you can see the empty round tables to the left. This is the dining area. The long table in the center is where the buffet-style meals are set up. The food is always very good and no one goes away hungry.034

Some of the projects are hung on the railing on the new side as well. In some cases, the quilter might decide to only do the piecing of the top layer and do the quilting at home after adding the batting and backing under the top of the quilt.

026 The quilts below are not finished, but the tops are pieced together, ready to be quilted at home.031

More quilts and a couple of bags (not mine).032 And yet more quilts and another style of bag (not mine) below the smaller green quilt. Beautiful workmanship.025

Four days of intensive sewing and sharing of techniques, ideas (and a few jokes), made this a successful retreat.

Next time I’ll share the close up work of one quilter whom I admire very much.

Quilting Retreat

Anybody who loves to quilt or sew, knows that it’s a time-consuming job. Often we have to leave our sewing to deal with everyday chores like cooking and cleaning. Even answering the phone takes us away from  projects we’re working on and the momentum is often lost. This could be why so many quilters have UFOs (unfinished objects) in their sewing rooms. Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if we could just take a step back from regular chores and concentrate only on our quilting projects?

If you belong to a quilting guild that books a place like Camp Homewood on Quadra Island (a short ferry ride from Campbell River on Vancouver Island), you might make that dream a reality. Imagine four days for yourself. All you have to do is eat, sleep, sew, and maybe go for a little walk now and then to stretch your legs.

This building is the main lodge for the camp. About 40 quilters from the Schoolhouse Quilters’ Guild have booked in here to work on their sewing projects.

Sewing machines, boxes of fabrics and sewing notions, folding tables, irons, bedding, toiletries, and clothing are unloaded at the main door on the left. From there the sewing  equipment is taken into the main part of the building where the women (no men this time) set up their machines and tables. The bedding and clothing is taken to individual rooms that have been assigned at registration time, weeks earlier.

 

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My friend and I slept in rooms in the guest house below tucked under a canopy of Douglas firs. It’s a short walk, maybe 100 yards, from the main lodge. But most of our time was spent in the big building working on our sewing projects.014

Below you can see the newer addition of the lodge. Huge windows have been placed all around to take advantage of the fantastic view on the front.

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Let’s climb up the steps on the far right of the building. Just inside this door we set up our sewing machines. Once in a while we might glance up and see a gorgeous view of the salt water passageways and small islands. On a clear day, the mountains are visible in the distance, but not today.

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Stepping out onto the deck on the front of the building, this is the view that greets you and bathes you in peace for the next four days.

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In the next post I’ll show you some of the work the quilters have done during their stay at this quiet retreat.

 

Cold Sunshine

The Captain and I had to make a trip up island the other day. It would be a long day so we took a picnic lunch and stopped by the roadside on the way home. Where we parked, several picnic benches were available but there was a chance our rear ends could freeze to the bench, so we stayed in the car where it was cozy. We had a fantastic view, sunshine, and the warmth of the car while we had our sandwiches and V-8 juice.

This was the view looking north towards Campbell River, on Vancouver Island. You can see the south end of town on the left, and in the distance you can see the snow-covered Coast Range which is on the BC mainland.

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Looking straight ahead from the comfort of our car, this was the view we had while we ate our lunch. These mountains are also part of the Coast Range, on the BC mainland.

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The waters were calm and the sun was shining, but it was hard to find a warm spot. Who knew that sunshine could be so cold?

Vintage

Some people love vintage cars. Not me. I’ve had enough old cars and trucks to last me the rest of my days. The only kind of vintage I want in my life now comes in a wine bottle.

This post is a continuation of one I wrote about five years ago. You can find Part One here. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2014/07/31/deflated-2/

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The same vehicle I am talking about in that post, was part of my life for too many years. We were frugal then, by necessity. Here is the truck as it was in the early 80s. My sister Sonja was visiting and as I took her picture, the truck happened to be in the background.

Back in the 70s the Captain bought a 1967 Chev 4 x 4. We drove that truck for years and used it to haul our few belongings to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1975 and then back to Vancouver Island again six years later. The six years in the Charlottes were hard on the truck. Severe storms are the norm up there and the salty sea air eats metal, but the Captain kept the Chev running.

After moving to Vancouver Island in the early 80s I wanted a newer vehicle so badly, but it was still hard times and we were stuck with the old Chev.

I was driving the truck into town one day. It was summer and I had the window rolled down so I heard it “loud and clear” when the driver  behind me stuck his head out his window and yelled at me, “GET THAT PIECE OF SHIT OFF THE ROAD!”

Still, we drove it for a few more years. One day we were coming down the logging road off our nearby Mount Washington and the truck was rattling rather loudly. I looked out the back cab window into the box of the truck and said to the Captain, “Is the box supposed to be moving separately from the cab of the truck?”

We slapped a “For Sale” sign on it. In no time at all, a young fellow bought it “as is,” and drove it away happily.

Turning Seasons

The colours of fall are amazing. As we drove through Montana on our way back to the coast, the brown hills near Missoula impressed us with their brilliant deciduous growth in the valley bottoms.

Even before learning the name of the huge trees with almost black bark, I have loved the look of the black cottonwoods. In Montana’s ever-present breeze the leaves whisper soothingly. It does the soul good just to stand quietly under one of these trees, close your eyes and listen.

I don’t know what the red shrubs are that don’t mind getting their feet wet in the creeks and rivers, but I saw the same shrubs growing in the small waterways of southern British Columbia as we drove home. dscn7290If I were a painter, I wouldn’t hesitate to set up my easel here.dscn7288Or here! I love the white bark on the trees below. Are they birch? Poplar? I don’t know, but they’re beautiful.

Notice how yellow and brown the grass is. It’s usually fairly dry here.dscn7296

Now see how green the grass is in the photo below. We are on the coast and the wet weather reminds us that we’re nearly home. That tree floating in the bay is a Douglas fir that was washed away from the banks of the river and has floated all the way into the estuary. It was a very tall tree, although it may be hard to tell from the photo. I later saw this same tree in a video clip someone posted to the weather network.

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Just a couple more miles to home. We’ve driven past flooded fields and a cresting river. So glad we live on high ground.

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