Tag Archives: wood carving

More Market Goodies

This is the last of three Farmers’ Market posts.

We’d all like to have our vegetables grown without chemical poisons to kill unwanted insects and weeds, but we can’t all have our own vegetable garden. The next best thing is to buy your vegetables at the Farmers’ Market. You’ll get organically grown vegetables with flavour that you have probably all but forgotten existed in a vegetable.

How about some novelty carrots?  Maybe you had a special dinner for Easter? Maybe the Easter bunny got carried away and painted these carrots. I’m told they taste just like the orange carrots but they add a great splash of colour and more nutrients to your meal.

Researchers in Wisconsin are working to develop and promote these colour phases in carrots. Here is what the various coloured carrots are said to provide:

  • Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. Vitamin A for healthy eyes.
  • Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Additional vitamin A, and said to help prevent heart disease.
  • Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
  • Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
  • White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

Need a good bowl, door stop, or rolling pin? Choose from these beautiful handmade products.

Or maybe you’d like to have a handmade wooden box to keep special things in? Each box is a work of art, lovingly polished by the artist.

Perhaps you have a special place in your house or garden that needs a piece of metal sculpture to highlight it. Not only are choices available on the table, but also on the post to the right where the man is standing.

So many things to choose from. If you need some time to think, why not take a load off your feet and sit down to listen to the band playing right by the market stands.

If you’re feeling too chilly, the Espresso and Deli shop is right next to the band’s stage. Pop over and grab a  quick bite and a cup of coffee to bring over to the band area. Bundle up your coat, sip your hot coffee and enjoy the music.

Who knew that a chilly spring day could be so much fun?

Roof Dogs

In Mexico, there’s little worry about snow removal, so  many houses have flat roofs.The flat roof provides a place to put the water tank, and sometimes a propane tank.

Tanks on the roof

Tanks on the roof

Sometimes the flat roofs provide a patio to sit on, sometimes a place to hang the laundry, and sometimes a place to store old stoves and washing machines.

Washing machines, ranges, all sorts of appliances

Appliance storage

Two young girls dance to disco music playing in the town square below their house. I worried about the maze of electric wires attached near the corner of the rooftop.

Watch out for the wires!

Watch out for the wires!

Naturally there must be access to the roof  and this makes the house vulnerable to break-ins from above. The obvious place for a guard dog, then, is on the roof.

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The dogs certainly do their job, barking at every passer-by and possible intruder. Often they don’t have much human contact and are left on the roof for long periods of time. It’s easily possible that they are forgotten and not fed or given water regularly.

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Often, one will bark and set off another dog some distance away. Then another barks and another and another until the whole dog-neighbourhood is barking and howling.

When the constant barking gets too annoying, it’s not unusual to hear a human voice shouting  in the middle of the night for the dogs to shut up.

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It’s sad that many of these roof dogs (perros de techo, as they’re called) learn to become aggressive and belligerent. The chow and his buddies pictured above were quite intimidating every time I walked by their house on my way into town.

On the other side of town, a completely different kind of dog had the run of the roof. It looked to me to be a kind of schnauzer and was more inquisitive than aggressive.

Who goes there?

I can’t see you very well, but I know you’re there.

Down below at street level the shop owner had another dog that might have been a real biter. He had him tied up with a chain and although he was skinny, he looked very tough.

Underfed?

Underfed?

Andy was fast asleep.

Andy was fast asleep.

And then there was Andy. He was fast asleep on his mat on the countertop at a small hotel lobby. The lady who owned him said to my husband, “This is Andy. Go ahead. You can pet him if you want.”  He wasn’t moving except that we could see his chest slowly rising and falling. Finally my husband reached over to pet Andy and the woman couldn’t contain her laughter anymore. Andy was a stuffed cloth dog with a battery inside to make his chest go up and down.

The whole town seemed to be going to the dogs.

Black Brant (Branta nigricans)

Brant at Goose Spit


Every year around the month of March, the black brant arrive in the Comox Valley.

What’s a brant, you ask? Well, let me tell you a little bit about these small sea geese of the Pacific Coast.

They breed in the Arctic in early summer. In the fall migration, they fly great distances offshore, rarely stopping on the way to their wintering grounds, which can be as far south as Baja California.

The brant visit our coast on their return, during their northern spring migration. At this time it is important for the birds to “fuel up” for their trip to the Arctic breeding ground.

Some of our beaches provide eel grass, one of their favourite foods. The occurrence of eel grass beds is limited along the coast, so feeding opportunities are precious. When the migration coincides with the spawning of the herring, the eel grass is often loaded with herring eggs, adding to the richness of the birds’ protein intake and helping them build their fat reserves. A thin bird on the breeding ground will lay fewer eggs.

You can see brant in the shallow waters near the beach as they feed on the eel grass and herring spawn. Please don’t go too close when viewing them, and above all don’t allow your pets to chase them as this disrupts their opportunity to feed.

When you observe these birds you’ll be fascinated by their sounds, their antics, and their habits. Watch for birds flying in an undulating line close to the surface of the water when they’re traveling, or in a flock (as pictured) if they have been scared up or are milling around looking for a new landing place. Listen for their gutteral, almost nasally call, “Gr-r-r,  gr-r-r, gr-r-r.” We’re so fortunate to have them visit us, we should do what we can to be aware of them and do our best to help keep their population healthy.

Except for the old hunting decoy on the far bottom left and the taxidermy mount above it, the brant in the display case shown below were all carved by local wildlife artist Bruce Glover. My apologies for the amateur photos which reflect the lighting in the room.

Bruce Glover, Vancouver Island carver.

The standing brant to the left is not carved but mounted (taxidermy). It has a light underbelly and is an Atlantic brant that returned south with the Pacific brant rather than the Atlantics.