Archive for May, 2015

Reward in Paradise

We have all heard the stories where Islamic Terrorists will be rewarded if they are killed or blow themselves up with 40 virgins when they reach Paradise.  Not the Paradise where we live but the other one.

I was reading recently that some scholars believe that this is a mistranslation of ancient texts.  The passage where it occurs refers to food stuffs like a land of milk and honey and a reward of plump sweet things that most likely referred to dates or candied raisins which were a special treat way back when.

Can you imagine some poor modern day Achmed showing up in paradise with his singed beard still smoking, lining up for his long anticipated reward only to be given a handful of Glosettes and saying             Hey Waiiiit a Minute!!!!!

Another Lonely Bachelor Evening Part II

Good call on my part not sharing Hangover II with Pat……….

Did you know that the actor that plays Mr Chow is actually a licensed Medical Doctor in California that does these roles on the side.  Only in California.

Another Lonely Bachelor Evening

It is Thursday evening and Pat is out again for some function.  Honestly I cannot keep track.

If it is not the monthly general meeting of the Alumni group or the CWL or the meeting of the executives (Pat is on the executive of every club she belongs to) or a night for Mahjong she is out many evenings.

Now a suspecting husband may think she may be meeting another man,  but the main reason why I think this is not true is because she wears normal clothes when she goes off…. correct that the main reason is that I believe it is not true is that we have a loving relationship!!!  Plus the hours she spends on the computer preparing presentations.

In any event, on a regular occasion I am left with policing the area after supper and loading the dishwasher which delays my blog.  But there is a good side.

During the day I do not get to watch many of my recorded programs on TV.  I do watch regular stuff on History TV or baseball when in my workshop, but the evenings are for movies or recorded shows.  Problem is that Pat does not necessarily agree to some of the things I record on the machine, so these nights I watch risky stuff.  For instance tonight I will watch Hangover II.

Crazy night…..

Complete Victory

After 4 years I have now completed the Victory.  A delay in the end as I had to construct and mount the flags and anchors but that is now done.


Busting Broom at Japanese Townsite

I have written in the past about my volunteering to try and cut and limit the spread of the infestation of Broom in our valley.

A little background.  This is Scottish Broom which was an evergreen plant that in olden times in Scotland they would cut the branches and use it for brooms.  Lovely yellow flowers in April May.  A hundred years ago a Scottish family brought them over to Victoria to plant in their garden as a memory.  Problem is that while the Broom was limited in Scotland due to weather, here on the Wet Coast it grew way beyond it ever did back there.  In the last 10 years it has spread all over the island and is now spreading on the coast.  Each plant produces thousands of seeds that blow with the wind.

Along highways and roads and the clear cut areas after forestation it produces millions of ugly plants that crowd out the natural plants and just take over.  There does not appear to be a herbicide that affects it (although here in BC the good that would never be tolerated anyway)  The plant is indestructible.  If you cut it down to the roots and leave even a bit of stem it just proliferates as if you had pruned it.  Broom has only one weakness.  When it blooms in May, with all the yellow flowers (that will turn into seed pods) and if you cut the plant at the ground level, it dies.  So the solution is to cut Broom in Bloom.

Issue is that this is very labour intensive.  It is up to the Broom Buster volunteer groups to try and clear public parks and pathways.  I joined the local group thinking it would be kind of rewarding but not realizing the physically exhausting work involved.  There are many times when I am out I wonder why I ever signed up for this hopeless task of stopping this scourge.  This last weekend is one of the reasons.

In 1893 a series of Coal mines opened in the Cumberland area west of us towards the mountains.  They brought in cheap workers from everywhere and of course there were racial issues.  The white workers were housed up the hill in what is now Cumberland.  The Japanese workers were in the valley next to the river and the Chinese were in the swamp.  Over the years the Japanese developed a Town site and built roads and drainage systems with houses to make a comfortable life.  In 1942 the Canadian government came in and took all the Japanese families away and moved them to concentration camps in the interior.  The townsite slowly disappeared as the houses were taken away for cottages or dismembered.  After the war no one came back.

In 2000 the province and the town and descendants of the families worked to develop the old town site as a historical area and a memorial park.  But with no funding the park became infested with Broom to the point where you could not walk around.  Cherry trees donated by the Japanese government for the park were choked off and died.  3 Years ago when I joined the Broom busters we took on the project of clearing this area.  Each year this has been one of the prime areas we work.  This last weekend 28 of us went back to the park to clear the edges and pick the little seedlings that continue to come up.  The town and Japanese families have replanted 31 cherry trees for each of the families displaced.  This is not a shaved park it is a wild park where you walk through knee high grass and find tiles and indications where houses stood, but it is now Broom free.

The picture shows the group from the weekend.  You will note that all of the group are older people.  Young people come out once, do not realize the work involved, and seldom come back.  Just in front of us is the end of a pile of Broom 50 feet long and 10 feet wide.  The tarps were used to drag the cuttings from the back areas to the road where the town will take it away for burning.  It goes back 200 yards beyond the back of the picture.  The park is lovely and a village Councillor and one of the descendants came out to thank us.

I was exhausted by noon but it was worth it.   A better workout than I ever have at the Gym.

2015 No 1 Town Broombust (12)

Volunteer at PGA tournament

For the second year our Crown Isle course has held a tournament for what is called Qualifying School to get into the PGA where the big money comes.  When you watch big name tournaments all of the players had to go through Q Schools to get in (aside from opens where you can work your way through regional tournaments)

In any event this is the only Canadian Q School and because it is held in May must be held here on the Island.  Can you imagine trying to hold a serious professional golf tournament anywhere else.

The weather was beyond perfection this week with the course in immaculate condition.  130 young aspirating golfers trying to make it into the big time.  The winner gets a ticket to the US PGA and the next 4 get to play in the Canadian PGA this summer.  They pay big money for the chance.

90% of the golfers are American from the southern states and most of these are graduates from college programs trying to get into the next stage of their professional careers.  Even the Canadian players I talked to, mostly lived and practiced in Florida or California.    A few had caddies and some had their coaches with them.  Granted many of the caddies where their dads.

I volunteered to help on the tournament.  There are lots of duties to run a PGA tournament and the members of our club sign up in droves.  I received a prime position as a Starter for the last two days.   Hand out the score cards, tell the players of special changes and … here is the good part.. announce the players as they tee off.  NOW AT THE TEE… FROM CHATTANOOGA TENNESSEE…  JOHN WHATEVER.  I even got to announce FROM OTTAWA ONTARIO… RYAN ELLIS.    Ryan did not look like our Ryan but looked a lot like a young Evan.  I made sure as I met each player to determine how to pronounce their name and the town they came from.

These kids could hit the ball like smack.  Slim guys hitting the ball 300 yards.

I think of the times I spent big money to watch PGA games and while these kids are just knocking on the door of this level, their games were way beyond what I normally see and I got to see it for free (and even received a free lunch each day).

And here is a nice part.  These are guys in their 20s and they are polite as anything.  Calling me Sir and thanking me for volunteering and just chatting.  I expect they have to learn to be surly when they get to the big time.  It was a wonderful experience to meet them and all the volunteers that I talked to felt the same.


Magnificent Oyster Dinner

Pat and I joined our Probus hiking club yesterday for the annual hike to Sandy Island to gather oysters.  We drive south to take the ferry to Denman Island (which is just off the coast from us.)  Then you drive on gravel roads to a spot near the north end of Denman Island.  Hike to the bluffs, climb down to the beach, hike a kilometer north on the beach to reveal the neck of land that is only revealed at very low tide in May and June that leads to the Sandy Island.

The official hike then takes the kilometer on the exposed land to the little island where you wander through sandy meadows covered with flowers with great views of the mountains and glacier.  Then you hike back through the stretch that is normally under ocean, where you find acres of oysters and other sea creatures.

I have a fishing license that allows me to harvest 15 oysters.  This year I knew to wear a back pack to carry this treasure home.  These are not the little tiny oysters that you see at expensive oyster bars… these are the real thing.  The size of softballs.  But as they are in the wild they have massive encrustations attached to them.  Mussels and rocks and barnacles cover them.  I brought along a chipping hammer to clean them before Pat put them in the bag in my backpack.  Still at the end I had at least 30 lbs of oysters in my pack as we made our way back to Denman Island.

There our base crew (made up of the guys who are smarter than me so do not to take the field trip through the flowers) had built a fire.  When we arrived they had lots of oysters in the embers and we shucked them open and consumed.  We had been 2 hours hiking around Sandy Island, while the guys at the base had been harvesting, building the fire, drinking wine and bbqing oysters.

We had to leave early as Pat and I had a Miata event, so we left the group and trudged back the 1 km to the 100 meter staircase that takes you up the bluff and the short hike to our car.  Let me say that with the 30 lbs of oysters on my back and the sunshine, I was tuckered by the time I arrived at our vehicle.  There we had a cooler loaded with ice to accept our oysters.

It is the next day and Pat and I are enjoying the oysters cooked on the bbq.  As you see from the pictures, these are not the small oysters you get at a restaurant, these are massive.  The instructions you may have learned on how to open an oyster, using a shucking knife and then levering them open at the base, do not apply.  You have to use a chisel and hammer to break through the hinge and then you use the shucking knife.  What comes out is a huge beast.  I doubt if Donald Trump gets to experience these.  You have to work to get them, but they taste delicious.  No way you swallow one down whole, you would choke.  You carve it like an oyster steak.

First picture is the array of oysters I opened tonight.  The shucking knife is 6 inches long to give you perspective.  The second picture is an opened oyster.  The third is the massive monster hanging on my knife.  The final picture is the pearl that Pat found in one of her oysters.  I think I found one as well but swallowed it.

An adventure meal.  Delicious.

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