Saturday, May 25, 2013

British Columbia and New Hampshire

One morning while visiting our family in British Columbia, I took a long meandering walk.  A hot, sunny, dry day, it was perfect for sitting on the curb and drawing.  The Cedar Creek Winery in Kelowna spills down the steep hillside to the lake. The plants are staked and wired and ready for this season’s leafy growth, to be followed by the grapes.

The name of the beautiful plant with the abundant flowers is unknown to me. The yellow composite flowers and shiny, holly-like leaves edged in red were everywhere.  In the background is Okanagan Lake. The Bennett Bridge connects the city of West Kelowna with Kelowna itself.

Kelowna is a four hour drive inland, east of the major city of Vancouver.  The trip from the coast involves two mountain passes of over 4000 feet elevation.  In late April, we drove across the passes and through two blizzards.  A week later our return trip via Stevens Pass in the northwest corner of Washington featured bright blue skies and temperatures in the 80s.  Spring had happened!

One day on our visit to Kelowna, we climbed Knox Mountain. Knox is a Scottish surname, and many of the early European settlers here were from Scotland. The view shows another vantage point of the city.

In the foreground, a magpie perches on a rock. The squawky, bold, intelligent birds are members of the crow family.  In flight, bright blue feathers flash along with the black and white.

In fourth grade (age nine), my teacher wrote on my report card that I was a magpie. Magpies do not inhabit the east coast of the US where I grew up.  So I didn’t know exactly what she meant, but I understood that it was not a compliment.  I was a bit full of myself that year and was known to talk too much to my neighbors.  For a while, my desk was moved into the corner.

Down the precipitously steep hill you see pines, a bike path, and an industrial harbor with floating logs awaiting the sawmill. And the main downtown with tall buildings, an arena, and a casino. Along the edges of the lake are flattish areas called benches, sites of both orchards and vineyards.  Way in the distance are snow-covered blue peaks.

We spent quite a lot of time with our five year old grandson, doing what boys like to do....throw sticks and play in the sand. No they are not twins, just one busy little boy and his Grandad.

This is Okanagan Lake, and you can see the benches and the vineyards better here than in the last drawing.

Another beach, another play day with our grandson. Here I drew him three times. The town beaches in Kelowna boast playgrounds, trees growing at water’s edge, and of course the views of the mountains.

He convinced me to go down the red plastic twisting slide. Once.

After a lunch with friends in mid April, I fit in time to draw this domestic structure in Greenland, NH, near Portsmouth and the seacoast.  It sits in front of a small triangle of land, a meeting of three small roads.  In the center of the triangle is an ornate bandstand that I considered drawing. But the stately, imposing home won out.  The wooden clapboarded house dates from maybe 1800-1830.  Just a guess.  The putty colored building has an unusual number of flat columns. Green wooden shutters and white brick chimneys complete the façade.

Stratham, NH and the area is sometimes called Antique Alley.  Located in the southeast of the state, the area is heavily touristed.  New Hampshire’s citizens are highly entrepreneurial. Everyone has something to sell by the side of the road. All the items along the curb are for sale.

 This building is the former town hall of Stratham.  It is a late Victorian style, maybe 1890, with a mansard roof.  Very stylish and very French.

Here in Madison, NH I was attracted to (read that as “stopped in my tracks”) by the town offices and police station.   The style is Craftsman I think.  It is unusually tall for that architectural style, but I am going by the wooden façade shingles, and the small and varied window shapes. 

 I read online that this building was moved to this site.  That is an admirable skill, and not that uncommon here.  Ox teams, heavy duty sleds, and helping hands were readily available to move buildings on snow-packed roads in the winter time, and they were much more affordable than employing a master carpenter to construct a brand new building.

   Last weekend we took a tour of the Spring Ledge Farm here in New London, NH.  The farm, on about 60 acres, is on protected land.  That is, it is preserved as farmland, never to be zoned for housing—occupying prime territory right on the main street of a pretty well-to-do town. The open house tour happens twice a year.  And we never miss it as it is all so informative.  We’ve learned many things there that immediately get put to use in our own garden.

The farm is owned and operated by Greg Berger and a team of people who are very dedicated to their work.  And who employ so much science in the planning, operating, and evaluating of their enterprise. 

 At the end of the tour, we are each invited to take a freebie.  One year it was a bag of alpaca manure.  This time, we chose these gorgeous geranium plants.

 They now sit on our front steps.  Are they talking to each other?  Saying things like “Are you scared?  Do you miss our family of a thousand in the greenhouse?”  I remember seeing geraniums growing wild in the fields in Malta, an island in the Mediterranean.  That fascinates me.  A coddled house plant in one corner of the world is a freely self seeding wild flower in another.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible as always. I love the movement of the people as well as the fresh fruit and veggies.

    Sarah T.