Spring has Sprung!

Time to move over to our new blog where you can catch up on spring at our new home and garden, the birth of baby goats, visits from Adam, and more!


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Moving Forward

Starting in 2016 please visit our new blog, fromourisland.wordpress.com

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Before and After

Phoebe has waited ever so long for her grooming with Charles. Well, actually, she wasn’t thrilled about it. Never is, but Charles uses no restraints and doesn’t want her traumatized, so he’s the very best! Now that Phoebe has arthritis, he gives her breaks so that she does not need to stand in any one position for very long.  We are pleased with her new look.  A Bouvier show cut is not what we are after. We like to see her chocolate brown eyes!

We love her big girl look, but it is not practical.


Not too long, not too short. 🙂


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The New Year- 2016 begins!

Much as 2015 was a very good year, as we reached the end, I was getting tired of it and wanted CHANGE! The gardens had been mostly put to bed and that is a gloomy time for me. Add to that my need for cataract surgery (making driving with kids unwise), the surgery needing to be delayed, my husband’s change in Parkinson’s medication…well I was less than cheery.

Next was the neighbour removing a huge amount of privacy forest to build a new home.  Sigh. We had just planted a large shade garden before their work began without warning.  I think this will eventually work out, but soon after the trees were downed, a storm caused trees on our property to fall. One of the large ones prevented us from leaving our property and also broke the power lines.  All this is pretty much cleared up and I am looking ahead to spring planting and watching new plants emerge.

The neighbours clear their land for building a new home.IMG_20151202_124206508b

Trees fall during a storm, cutting power lines and blocking our exit.IMG_20151207_084030611b

We now have a bit of sunlight in our backyard, a mixed blessing.Jan3-2016-001b

We have had our share of rain and cold. Today we have sunshine (which I love!) but it remains quite cold.Jan4-2016-003b

January is the time for early seed starting and plant orders. I have been doing my research on “must haves”  and enjoying every minute of it!


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Soggy Garden Day in Fall

It was supposed to be a sunny day…but I`ll enjoy the colors anyway!

This week we started cutting back perennials…but I usually leave the grasses until spring.


This Clematis Freckles blooms very late in the year, so it does not get cut back either.


     These Astrantia blooms are lasting way beyond what I expected!


Chocolate Eupatorium blooms especially late.

Aster “The Prince” is blooming at last. I love this!


We have potted up many pots of Spring bulbs.


This small Ginkgo tree is finally turning yellow.


The young Enkianthus shrub has turned a bright red.


Woodland Cyclamen are showing their beautiful leaves.



The holding bed is full of color. 🙂


Planted a new bed with shade loving plants. This is Rodgersia.



This fungus is so pretty on a tree stump that my granddaughter wanted it photographed.



Raindrops look like diamonds sparkling!


The moss is happy with the moisture.


Love to you all!



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Reconnecting With Sam After 40 Years

In 1965 & 1966 I spent two years teachng in a rural school outside Umuahia in what was then known as Eastern Nigeria.  Crusaders Secondary School was a boarding school for highschool students, some of them very young. They came from miles around, and some of them did not speak the same languages as others. Basically they spoke Igbo, but classes were mainly conducted in English.

A school in Nigeria, 1965.

001b-Nigerian-school-1965-6We were a very new school and I was there to teach English and French. Basically I was the French Department. I also worked with the Young Farmer’s Club, set up a small school library, inspected dormitories, and all the duties required of a teacher. I helped paint science labs at a neighboring school, judged poetry recitations at a competition, helped the start-up blood donor program in town and taught adults French in town once a week.

There were many new schools in the area. These schools were required to pass school inspections so that students could sit for exams to pass the West African School Certicate program.  My students did not sit for the French Exams because they had not received enough background in French yet. But they did sit for exams in English, Igbo, Geography, Sciences, Math, Bible Knowledge and so forth. And so, prior to inspection, a young man from  the nearby college came to assist in the science program to teach chemistry. His name was Sam and he was the nephew of our school principal. Sam was a very handsome guy, tall and polite, with a wonderful smile. I didn’t get to know him very well, but he did attended my send-off party I believe.

Ric and David visit my house on the school compound.


Years later, many many years later, I was back in North America, living in Canada. I was married to a professor of computer science (that guy above on the left!) I was in the lab one day, waiting for him to come home. I saw an enthusiastic student printing out a Snoopy Calendar. Now this man was definitely from Nigeria, but I was cautious about approaching him. Eventually  I decided to be brave and simply ask him if he was from Africa.  (That could have been a dicey question if he was not!) An so when he said “yes” I became braver and asked if he was from Nigeria. I expected this game to continue down to which province, which city, which school, but he was ahead of me and said “Are you Miss Marie?” And sure enough, we were both amazed that we had travelled so far and yet met once more! Sam was starting his PhD in Chemistry, but he was such an outgoing person that he seemed to make many friends.  And so he worked hard, graduated and found solid employment in the USA. And that is where his wife came for their wedding.  When their first daughter was born they came to visit us. I was so happy to meet her!

Much later we tried very hard for him to become a resident of the USA or Canada, but without success. This was a real shame because he had so much to offer. We were saddened by it all. Eventually he returned to Nigeria and we were able to keep in touch a few times, but it was not easy.

Eventually I tried very hard to locate him on the web and at the University where he taught…to no avail. To my horror, I learned that he had been kidnapped. I was so agitated. In a few very long weeks I was able to discover that he was set free. He contacted me once, but of course his life was a shambles for a while afterwards.  His email address must have changed and I no longer heard from him.

And so fast forward to October 2015, and my husband attempted to locate Sam with me on the web. Through some miracle, we discovered a film of his brother’s niece, then her father’s email address, and then this man sent us Sam’s number in Nigeria! The very next morning we were talking on the phone. He is 70 years young now, but sounds like a 25 year old to my ear.  To me, this is one of life’s miracles. I have had similar encounters with friends from long ago, but somehow, this one which crosses continents as well as many decades, with the terrible Biafran war in the middle, truly warms my heart. In a photo he sent, his university aged son resembles him so much!!! Life is good.


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Mid October in BC

Today is election day. I love this map!

12118731_1498284797164888_4907879372722115258_nInstead of biting my nails over the outcome of a tight and dirty race,  I thought I’d share some family updates.

I guess I’ll first admit that I am officially old, having celebrated my 73 birthday. Fortunately there was only one candle on my cake! But the exciting things no longer seem to be wrapped gifts.

Close to home, are the grandchildren. They frequently have sleepovers at our place. This is the angel Leo (5) who turns into a demon sometimes when awake. It is hard being a middle child!

Oct9-2015 003

Forrest, three, is dying for a sleepover. He’s not quite ready for it though, but he enjoys walks with his grandfather and having a hot chocolate together afterwards.

The oldest, Ivy, has lost 3 teeth and is delighted by the tooth fairy. She works at home on projects and other activities and attends school three  days per week. And so, she was especially delighted that her tooth, which had been dangling for a long time, finally came out at school so that she could celebrate the event with her friends. Here they are, Ivy is wearing green.

IMG_20151009_120439bIvy has been working on a project on mushrooms these days. She also recently went horse back riding and LOVED it.


Non edibles from Nana’s back yard.


Sarah has begun baking and selling bread at a small booth up at the road in front of their house. It’s quite the success! Ric and I enjoy the cinnamon buns warm from the oven. I enjoy her cheddar/jalpeno bread too. This week she began offering olive bread as well as the regular choices:

-Parmesan herb ( large small)
-whole wheat (large)
-Multigrain with sunflower (large)
-Multigrain (small)

Wayne made the super sign for her. 🙂
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Their barn and their mini-house both have new roofs. Lots of work, but a huge improvement.


From far away, Adam has been working in Haiti once again, a very quick surprise trip to help an orphanage. As usual, a difficult trip. After his return, he traveled to Toronto for a workshop and enjoyed celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving there. It is a treat to receive photos from him, especially these beauties showing him ‘relaxing’  with three friends! These were taken in New Hampshire at Mt Garfield.

aIEbhf2sfHu8HBjumWw91F8AUcZ__-Of43Oo6YRurEE0BiJ0s3gl=w1531-h862-noIMG_20151018_232611bFeeding a bird. I don’t know what kind.

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They only climbed about 900 meters, but note the summer-to-arctic transformation!

As for the old folks, Ric has been practicing for his group’s Christmas concert. He sings bass for the first time. They are really short of male voices.

As for me, I’m always making changes in the garden. The bulbs are all planted now. I always wish I’d planted more come spring.


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